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Singing and post natal depression

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Singing and post natal depression

Employment Lawyer Jodi Hill     By Jodie Hill

We’re used to hearing that singing can help improve the mental health of older people and those with dementia – but what about helping with the symptoms of postnatal depression?

According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, group singing is “more effective than creative play” at tackling the symptoms of postnatal depression.

What is postnatal depression?

Postnatal depression can be very debilitating for mothers and their families and symptoms are thought to affect between 10% and 15% of new mothers, with 25% suffering symptoms which last over a year.  Symptoms can include extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, crying episodes and irritability.  It is important that help is sought straight away in order to limit the effect on the baby as well as the mother, which can include poor emotional adjustment (insecure attachment) and delays in reading in some cases.

The study

The study assessed 134 women and their babies over a 10 week period, looking at the impact of creative group activity on depressive symptoms.

One third of the group was enrolled in a weekly singing workshop, learning and singing songs about different aspects of motherhood.  The second group took part in a weekly creative play workshop, engaging in sensory play and craft with their babies.  The third group received normal postnatal care and functioned as a control group.

Mothers who took part in group singing sessions with their babies were found to show “much faster improvement” compared to mothers who didn’t take part in the sessions.  There was also a positive link between the seriousness of the symptoms and the speed of the improvement.  There was no significant difference in the speed of recovery between the creative play group and the control group.

The future

A full recovery can be made from postnatal depression and the more women that can be helped by something as simple as singing, the better, as naturally new mothers are wary of taking antidepressants whilst breast feeding.

Link to BBC Facebook group video –
Link to my article on postnatal depression in men here

For regular updates on all employment law issues follow me on Twitter @iamjodiehill and add me on Linkedin






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