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Bedside Music Therapy for Women during Antepartum and Postpartum Hospitalization

Corey, Kristen MA, LCAT, MT-BC; Fallek, Ronit MPA; Benattar, Maya MA, LCAT, MT-BC

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: September/October 2019 - Volume 44 - Issue 5 - p 277–283
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000557

Purpose: Stress and anxiety are prevalent during pregnancy and postpartum with adverse effects on mothers and newborns, yet women's psychological and emotional needs are often given a lower priority than their physical wellbeing. The purpose of this study was to assess feasibility of implementing a bedside music therapy intervention to alleviate stress and anxiety, provide emotional support, and facilitate mother–baby bonding for women during antepartum and postpartum hospitalization at a large urban medical center.

Study Design and Methods: Over 15 months, women on three units who were hospitalized during antepartum or postpartum were referred for music therapy and received a single bedside session from a credentialed music therapist (MT-BC), including tailored interventions and education in relaxation techniques. A retrospective analysis of postintervention feedback questionnaires and process notes was conducted to assess participant receptivity and satisfaction, and the feasibility of implementing the program on the units.

Results: Music therapy was provided to 223 postpartum and 97 antepartum patients. The program was found to be feasible and well received, including high satisfaction, positive effects on participants' relaxation and sense of connection with their baby, and enthusiastic reception from providers and staff. Qualitative feedback revealed salient themes including the effect of the intervention on mothers' mental, emotional and physical states, and the soothing effect of music on their newborns.

Clinical Implications: Hospitals are in a unique position to provide support services and self-care education for women during their antepartum and postpartum hospitalization. Music therapy can be integrated successfully into inpatient care as a nurturing and patient-centered form of psychosocial support.

Music therapy can be beneficial for women during antepartum and postpartum hospitalization. In this project, music therapists offered various types of music to hospitalized childbearing women, including live performances at the bedside, as part of a project to create a healing environment and help pregnant women and new mothers with soothing, relaxing options for self-care and quiet time.

Kristen Corey is a Music Therapist, and Coordinator, Healing Arts Program, Montefiore Health System, Bronx, NY. The author can be reached via e-mail at

Ronit Fallek is Director, Healing Arts Program, Montefiore Health System, Bronx, NY.

Maya Benattar is a Music Therapist, Montefiore Health System, Bronx, NY.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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