The Effect of Music on Labor Pain and Duration: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Ebru Şen, MSc; Sevil Günaydın, PhD; Tulay Yilmaz, PhD; Hüsniye Dinç Kaya, PhD



Context • The use of music in obstetrics increases every day, and it is extensively used in the control of labor pain.

Objective • This study was conducted to determine the effect of music on labor pain and duration.

Design and Setting • This systematic review and meta-analysis was carried out between October 15 and November 15, 2022. The search was done in the PubMed and ScienceDirect, MEDLINE, Ovid, EBSCO CINAHL Plus, and Cochrane Library databases.

Outcomes meassures • According to the inclusion criteria, 12 studies included in the systematic review and meta-analysis were determined. The data were analyzed using Review Manager 5.4. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed with the RoB 2 tool.

Results • Twelve articles were included in this study. According to the study results, listening to music was revealed to be statistically significantly effective in reducing pain intensity in terms of relieving labor pain (SMD:-0.98, Z=8.33, P < .001). Listening to music in the active phase was found to further decrease pain intensity compared to the latent phase (latent phase: SMD:-0.56 and active phase: SMD:-1.26), but it did not affect labor duration (MD:-0.76, Z=1.72, P = .09).

Conclusion • Listening to music was determined to be effective in reducing pain intensity. The music genre selected by the researchers was found to further reduce pain intensity during labor compared to pregnant women’s own choices, and it was elucidated that listening to music with headphones was effective in pain control but listening to music did not affect labor duration.

PROSPERO Registration no • CRD42022367480 (Adv Mind Body Med. 2023;37(4):4-11.)


Ebru Şen, MSc, Nisantasi University Vocational School; Istanbul, Turkey. Sevil Günaydın, PhD; Tulay Yilmaz, PhD; Hüsniye Dinç Kaya, PhD; Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Health Sciences; Department of Midwifery; Istanbul, Turkey.

Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.