Does music during labor affect mode of delivery in first labor after epidural anesthesia? A prospective study

Yael Pasternak*, Netanella Miller, Aula Asali, Yael Yagur, Omer Weitzner, Maya Nimrodi, Yehonatan Pasternak, Arie Berkovitz, Tal Biron-Shental

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Key message: Listening to music during labor increases the likelihood that primiparas will have a spontaneous vaginal delivery. Purpose: To examine the effects of exposure to music during labor on the mode of delivery and parturients’ stress levels. Methods: This prospective, interventional study included 124 low-risk women who were recruited during latent phase of their first labor after epidural anesthesia. Patients were grouped according to their preference to receive music intervention or not. The music intervention included two subgroups: soft classical music and rhythmic music. We evaluated cortisol levels in saliva as a surrogate for stress level and State-Trait Personality Inventory at enrollment and 1–3 h later in all women who were still in labor. Delivery and perinatal outcomes were collected from electronic medical records. Correlations between the music intervention and maternal and perinatal outcomes were evaluated. Results: Spontaneous vaginal delivery was significantly more frequent among women listening to music compared to the non-music group (P = 0.035). A trend towards lower rates of cesarean delivery was noted in the music group (P = 0.08), with no difference in instrumental vaginal delivery rates. Stress levels, as measured by questionnaires and by cortisol levels, blood pressure and pulse rate, remained similar throughout the study. No differences were noted between the different genres of music when examining obstetric and perinatal outcomes and stress levels. Conclusion: Listening to music during labor, improves the likelihood of primiparas to have a vaginal delivery regardless of stress level. As this treatment is simple, easy, and harmless to administer, we suggest it may be offered to all patients during labor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1244
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Anxiety
  • Cesarean section
  • Music
  • Spontaneous vaginal delivery
  • Stress


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