Skip to main content
Birth and Music
Apr 1, 1999

The baby was crying ceaselessly. When mother leaned him to her chest, right over her heart, he suddenly stopped crying and calmed down. When she thought had fallen, she took him to his bed; as soon as he left her arms, he started to cry again.


According to some researchers, the rhythmic heartbeat of parents is one of the main factors that influence baby’s feelings. Several experiments have been performed based upon this hypothesis. Some babies who were crying for food were taken to a room where pre-recorded heartbeats and lullabies were playing. It was observed that the crying babies became silent and fell asleep in a short while. The researchers came up to the conclusion that, during pregnancy, babies become accustomed to the heartbeats of the mother in her womb. After the baby is born, this familiar sound becomes a sort of music that relieves the baby.

Most mothers unintentionally lean her babies on their left arms during breast-feeding and over their hearts when trying to lull them. This instinctive behavior leads researchers to focus on the impact of the heartbeats upon babies’ feelings.

Associate Professor of the College of Nursing at Marmara University, Nuran Komurcu, is a distinguished person who has dedicated herself to medical science and takes her inspiration from small details. She had even tried proving the truthfulness of her hypothesis that musical therapy was effective during the delivery of a baby. Dr. Komurcu had continued most of her studies in Bakirkoy Yenimahalle Maternity hospital. She usually used the beautiful sounds of nature such as the babbling sound of water and a mystic wind instrument, ney, which is used to perform Sufi music, for her experiments. She divided her patients into two groups and placed them in two different rooms. One room was prepared for patients who would listen to the kind of music mentioned above, and the other room was for the group who would not listen to any music. Meanwhile, one question raised from her mind, “what if the babies fall asleep in the mothers’ womb before labor?”

Dr. Komurcu then selected her patients among those who would most probably give birth to their babies first and made them listen to music just a couple of hours before delivery. Being treated in a very comfortable room, the patients almost did not have any fear of the delivery.

First, the patients who were regarded as experimental and the control group, were asked whether they liked music or not, what kind of music they listened to, and other questions concerning their personalities. Then, their blood pressure was measured. The measurement of the blood pressure was essential for the assessment of the experiment because it led to more accurate results among the other tests which are conducted for the determination of the effects of music, in terms of pain relieving, mood enhancing, and delivery stress. She hoped to see the stimulating muscle contractions caused by the ney, which is proved by former research. Her patients listened to the music at 20-minute intervals before the labor time. It was observed that the pain during the labor time became more frequent. This showed that the music decreased the labor period.

Music therapy is playing an important role to help patients gain self- confidence and subsequently overcome labor pain. The results state that the patients who listened to music during delivery were less tense and nervous than the other group. The determination of differences of blood pressure among the groups is assumed to be caused by the efficiency of music therapy on the blood circulation, respiration, and muscle physiology.

Having hypothesized that music could ease delivery, Dr. Komurcu has reported the beneficial effects of music therapy from her research. However, she emphasized that it would not just be enough to apply music therapy when women are in labor. It is recommended that music therapy be started at least 3 months before the expected delivery time in order to get full advantage of it.