Singing Can Help Relieve Postpartum Depression Symptoms, Study Finds

Warm up your singing voice, Mama!

By: Amanda Mushro
Shot of an adorable baby girl bonding with her mother at home

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Shot of an adorable baby girl bonding with her mother at home

Photo by: PeopleImages

PeopleImages

More than ever, women are sharing their stories about and struggles with postpartum depression so they can help other new moms identify the symptoms and get help. In addition to working with their doctors to find the right treatment, some moms find that practicing yoga and meditation is helpful in alleviating the stress of being a new parent. But what about singing? Belting out a few tunes not only helps your baby fall asleep but can make new moms feel better as well.

According to a study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, new moms with postpartum depression symptoms who took part in singing sessions with their baby recovered more quickly than mothers who did not take part.

For the study, researchers divided 134 mothers with symptoms of postpartum depression into two different groups. One group was asked to take part in a 10-week group singing workshop where they learned songs and lullabies to sing to their babies. The other group was asked to continue with their normal activities for the 10-week period. What they found was both groups of mothers reported improvements with their symptoms. However, moms in the singing group reported their symptoms improved by 35 percent and felt these improvements faster than the moms in the non-singing group.

"Some of our other research with mothers has shown that singing led to greater decreases in anxiety and enhanced perceptions of emotional closeness than other social interaction," said lead researcher Rosie Perkins in an interview with Newsweek.

While researchers aren’t entirely clear why mothers who sang to their babies began feeling better, they suspect it’s because singing provided an outlet to feel a sense of identity and achievement, and that the mothers also felt like they were part of a community while in the music classes. It should also be noted that music has long been used as a form of therapy for anxiety and depression.

Still, doctors want new moms to speak with their healthcare providers if they are feeling anxious or depressed so that they can create a plan together. Singing alone is not the answer, but it can be part of the solution to help all new moms ease into motherhood and lessen postpartum symptoms.

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