Aims. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of music on pain reaction and anxiety during labour.
Background. Music therapy has been used on clinical medicine. Only few scientific studies validate the value on labour women.
Design. Randomised controlled trial.
Methods. Sixty primiparas expected to have a normal spontaneous delivery were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (n = 30) or the control group (n = 30). The experimental group received routine care and music therapy, whereas the control group received routine care only. A self-report visual analogue scale for pain and a nurse-rated present behavioural intensity were used to measure labour pain. Anxiety was measured with a visual analogue scale for anxiety and finger temperature. Pain and anxiety between groups were compared during the latent phase (2–4 cm cervical dilation) and active phase (5–7 cm) separately.
Results. Our results revealed that compared with the control group, the experimental group had significantly lower pain, anxiety and a higher finger temperature during the latent phase of labour. However, no significant differences were found between the two groups on all outcome measures during the active phase.
Conclusions. This study provides evidence for the use of music as an empirically based intervention of women for labour pain and anxiety during the latent phase of labour.
Relevance to clinical practice. The findings support that music listening is an acceptable and non-medical coping strategy for labouring women. Especially, apply in reducing the pain and anxiety for women who are at the early phase of labour.