Music may soothe neonates in hospital and help to manage the pain associated with procedures such as heel prick test and circumcision, according to a Canadian systematic review. Nine randomised controlled trials were included in the study, which aimed to assess the usefulness of playing music in neonatal units to improve behavioural and physiological outcomes in babies. Outcomes included heart rate and respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, behavioural state and pain. The most common music type used was recorded lullabies. Although the authors set out to perform a meta-analysis, this was not possible due to the heterogeneity of the outcomes of the included trials. The methodological quality of the studies found was also generally poor, which added to the difficulty of analysing the data. The authors conclude that in general, music may be beneficial in terms of pain and behavioural states in neonates, particularly for less painful procedures, but that more methodologically rigorous trials are warranted.
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