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Study finds music can ease labor pain

CLEVELAND - - Many women approach childbirth labor fearful of the pain they may experience, but are also unwilling or unable to take medication to ease the pain. However, a new study provides hope for those seeking to lessen delivery pain without medications: through the use of music.

The study, which appeared in the June 2003 issue of Pain Management Nursing, found that music can reduce the sensation of labor pain and decrease and delay the emotional distress that accompanies it. The study was led by Sasitorn Phumdoung, a recent graduate of Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Marion Good, associate professor of nursing at the Bolton School, was Phumdoung's dissertation advisor. Good's previous research, in an NIH-funded study had found that this same music reduced pain after surgery.

Phumdoung studied two groups of laboring women, age 20-30, who were all having their first baby. One group chose from among five types of calming music and listened to it for the first three hours in the hospital after active labor began. The comparison group had the standard care during labor. The study started when they were 3-4cm. dilated.

The group receiving music used a tape recorder and earphones to listen to the music, with 10-minute breaks each hour; the control group did not listen to any music. Phumdoung measured the women's reports of labor pain before the study began and hourly for the next three hours. During the three hours and at each hourly measure, the music group had significantly less sensation and distress pain than the control group.

The study took place in two hospitals in Phumdoung's home country of Thailand where she is on the faculty of the College of Nursing at Prince of Songkla University. In those two hospitals, the standard of care was to not give analgesic medication to laboring mothers because of its effect on the infant.

"These findings have significant implications for women pr
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Contact: Jeffrey Bendix
jeffrey.bendix@case.edu
216-368-6070
Case Western Reserve University
12-Sep-2003


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