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Music Listening in Pregnancy: A Succour For Urban Women

Nweke, Florence Ewomazino (Ph.D.)

Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Visiting Scholar, Mountain Top University, Nigeria
Email: fnweke@unilag.edu.ng
Telephone: +2348024744780

Experiencing marital bliss is the joy of every lady. This phase comes with the desire to procreate and bear children.  Child bearing, in Africa, is the joy of every woman. A cursory enquiry into the life of friends and relations illustrates what women go through in pre- and post-pregnancy states. Essentially, finding a way to juggle work, family, and pregnancy can fill the pregnant woman with emotional turmoil, which can alter her moods. A means of succour then becomes invaluable at these periods. This study investigates music listening patterns among women living in urban cities, the kinds of music they listen to during pregnancy and after childbirth, and how this music affects their mood at those moments.

Rallis et al (2014) revealed how music has been applied to improve the well-being of women during their period of transition to motherhood. For a pregnant mother, listening to music becomes a succour. Hsing-Chi et al (2015) reported that music listening is an interventional tool that reduces anxiety during pregnancy. Several scholars (Magraner, et al, 2023; Clark &Tamplin, 2016; Ganser & Huda, 2010) have established how music positively and negatively influences people. Thus, there are several kinds of music each person uses to alter their mood. Throughout history, music listening has been replete with the kinds of literature that individual uses to perform various tasks. Serap et al., (2014) reiterated that “Music has been part of the human experience since the beginnings of history, and history is replete with the belief in the therapeutic and healing powers of music.”

Research questionnaire was sent online via Google form to explore the variables of this research. The responses given by 100 women were analysed, utilising two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) to understand if there was a significant variation in the music type listened to in pre- and post-pregnancy experience.

This study reveals that women listen to music during and after pregnancy irrespective of their moods (good or bad). While 34% of the women claimed they have experienced negative mood changes during pregnancy and after childbirth, 66% did not have such negative experiences. The bulk of the women (32%) claimed to have been listening to gospel music as 18% listened to hymns and 11% affirmed that they listened to classical music. Afro-beat music had a patronage of 10%, Blues 9%, Rhythms 6% as Afro-pop and Jazz took 5% each.  Of the remaining, 3% and 2% claimed they listened to Folk and Broadway music respectively.

The study concludes there is no significant difference between the kind of music women listened to during the mood variation moments of pre-and post-pregnancy. However, women who experience negative moods after childbirth do not listen to Folk and Broadway music but Gospel, Hymn, and Afrobeat music genres. These music genres take the lead in restoring negatively altered moods.  The reasons for these preferences are not within the purview of this study. Superficially, listening to Gospel music during and after pregnancy is associated with the lyrical contents and the rhythmical pleasure derived from the music genre, which edify the listeners and inspire them to move on (unpublished source).

However, results in this study show that a woman listens to music whether she is in good or bad mood during the pre- and post-pregnancy moments. Thus, music listening is a succour for urban women. Music became an effective cushion for worries and anxiety during those periods. While music comes with no harm or side effect, it is very soothing and easy to use. With women assuming several maternal roles which, come with several layers of responsibility and stress during pregnancy, studies in music listening among women living in urban cities should continue to be expanded by researchers in Nigeria.


Clark, N. I. and Tamplin, J. (2016). “How music can influence the body: Perspectives from current research.” Voice A World Forum for Music Therapy 16(2). Published by University of Bergen Library. DOI: 10.15845/voices.v16i2.871.

Ganser, J. and Huda, F. (2010). “Music’s effect on mood and helping behaviour.” UW-L Journal of Undergraduate Resrarch XIII.

Hsing-Chi Chang, Chen-Hsiang Yu, Shu-Yueh Chen, Chung-Hey Chen, (2015). “The effects of music listening on psychosocial stress and maternal–fetal attachment during pregnancy,” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 23, Issue 4, Pages 509-515.

Magraner, J. S. B., Valero, B., Marin-Liebana, P. and Nicolas, A. M. B. (2023). “Changing positive and negative effects through music experiences: a study with university students.” BMC Psychology. 11(1). DOI: 10.1186/s40359-023-01110-9.

Rallis S, Skouteris H, McCabe M, Milgrom J.  (2014). “A prospective examination of depression, anxiety and stress throughout pregnancy.”  Women Birth. 27(4):e36-42. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2014.08.002. Epub 2014 Sep 16. PMID: 25240846.

Serap Simavli, Ikbal Kaygusuz, Ilknur Gumus, Betul Usluogullar Melahat Yildirim, Hasan Kafali,” (2014). “Effect of music therapy during vaginal delivery on postpartum pain relief and mental health”, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 156, Pages 194-199.


Author’s Profile

Florence is a lecturer and ardent researcher in Music- Department of Creative Arts, UNILAG & Visiting Research Scholar- Mountain Top Uni. Nigeria. Was Co-I: AHRC UK-RI, grant for COVID-19; Nagel Grant Calvin University, USA; Alumnae Mellon School of Theatre and Performance Research Harvard University, USA; Fellow: Global Art in Medicine F/ship.