Singing can boost postnatal depression recovery

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  • Moderate-to-severe sufferers recover significantly faster if they sing in a group
  • Creative workshops or standard-of-care were equally as effective as each other 
  • Past research shows singing allows depressed people to express their emotions 
  • Researchers from the Centre for Performance Science in London did the study 
  • Postnatal depression affects over one in 10 women within a year of giving birth

Alexandra Thompson Health Reporter For Mailonline

Singing helps women overcome postnatal depression, new research reveals.

New mothers who struggle with moderate-to-severe symptoms of the condition recover significantly faster if they sing in a group, a study found.

Although the study did not say why this likely occurs, previous research shows singing benefits depression sufferers by allowing them to express their emotions and aiding relaxation.

Lead researcher Dr Rosie Perkins from the Centre for Performance Science in London, said: ‘Postnatal depression is debilitating for mothers and their families, yet our research indicates that for some women something as accessible as singing with their baby could help to speed up recovery at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.’

Postnatal depression affects more than one in 10 women within a year of giving birth in the UK.

Singing helps women overcome postnatal depression, new research reveals (stock)

Singing helps women overcome postnatal depression, new research reveals (stock)

PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT MAKES PEOPLE BETTER LISTENERS 

Playing an instrument makes people better listeners by altering their brain waves, research revealed in June last year.

In the first study of its kind, researchers demonstrated making music significantly alters activity in the areas of the brain associated with hearing.

Study author Dr Bernhard Ross from Baycrest Health Sciences hospital in Toronto, said: ‘Music has been known to have beneficial effects on the brain, but there has been limited understanding into what about music makes a difference.

‘This is the first study demonstrating that learning the fine movement needed to reproduce a sound on an instrument changes the brain’s perception of sound in a way that is not seen when listening to music.

‘We saw direct changes in the brain after one session, demonstrating that the action of creating music leads to a strong change in brain activity.’ 

How the research was carried out

The researchers analysed 134 mothers during the first 40 weeks of motherhood.

The women were divided to receive either 10 weeks of a singing workshop, a creative play workshop or postnatal depression standard-of-care.

In the singing workshops, the study’s participants listened to, and learned, new songs, as well as creating songs about motherhood.

‘Singing could speed up recovery’

Results also found no difference in the recovery of women who take part in creative play workshops or receive standard-of-care.

Dr Perkins said: ‘Postnatal depression is debilitating for mothers and their families, yet our research indicates that for some women something as accessible as singing with their baby could help to speed up recovery at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.’

The chairwoman of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Perinatal Faculty, Dr Trudi Seneviratne, welcomed the ‘exciting’ findings.

The findings were published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.





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