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British Study Recommends Singing Lullabies to Get Over Postpartum Depression

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The power of music is strong enough for new mothers to beat postpartum depression. Called post-natal depression in the UK, the condition hits women who just gave birth.

Among the symptoms of postpartum depression are insomnia, loss of appetite, and severe mood disorders. A study by researchers at the Imperial College in London recommended that new mothers sing lullabies to their babies to help them recover.


35% Improvement

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that new mothers who joined group singing sessions with their babies experienced a 35 percent faster improvement in their depressive symptoms compared to women who did not participate, News 18 reported. Women who suffer from postpartum depression are in one of the most vulnerable times of their lives, Rosie Perkins, a researcher at the Imperial College in London, said.

According to Mind, having a baby is a big life event. It is natural for women to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after their pregnancy. The website estimated that one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or within the year after they gave birth.



It could be a new mental problem or another episode of a past depression. Among the feelings that the new mothers who suffer from post-natal depression are worrying that she is a bad parent because she is struggling with a mental health issue and worrying that the baby will be taken away from her if she admits how she is feeling.

Ahead of the childbirth, women are advised to talk with their doctors on how the new mothers can manage their mental health when postpartum depression hits them.

Symptoms include a persistent feeling of sadness, lack of enjoyment, loss of interest in the outside world and the baby, and a lack of energy. The Sun said that these symptoms can build up gradually so a lot of new mothers do not immediately identify that they have post-natal depression.


Community Activities to Support Recovery

A total of 134 mothers who were divided into three groups and diagnosed with postpartum depression participated in the research. The first group joined group singing, the second group participated in creative play sessions, and the third group got the usual care which included family support, taking antidepressants, or mindfulness.

Daisy Fancourt, another researcher from the University College London, noted that many mothers are concerned about taking depression medication while breastfeeding. She added that takers of psychological therapies are relatively low.


Music’s Effect on Newborns

It is common knowledge that lullabies help put the baby to sleep. However, a study said that lullabies also can help ease the pain.

A research project at the Great Ormond Street Hospital sought to find the answer if the soothing effect of a lullaby came from listening to live music or the presence of an attentive adult. To answer the question, researchers recruited 37 patients below three years old with cardiovascular or respiratory problems.

All the 37 toddlers took part in three 10-minute sessions. In one session, adults read to them. In another session, they heard lullabies being sung. In a third session, the babies were left alone. At the end of the session that involved music, there was a significant drop in heart rate and pain level among the young patients, The Telegraph reported.


Photo by Africa Studio via Shutterstock


Other than listening to lullabies, being rocked in a cradle has the same soothing effect on a baby. Nomadic people can also testify that being strapped to the side of a walking mother has the same effect. In an experiment, a doctor in London rigged up a machine to mimic the pace and gait of a walking mother. So long as the baby was fed and given water, the infant placed on the machine would stop crying at once.



In terms of neurology, Tim Griffiths, a neurologist at Wellcome Trust, explained that there is an ancient part of the brain in the limbic system responsible for the emotional responses to music. He said the emotional part of the brain is stimulated by music which decreases the arousal level and affects the pain response levels.


Postpartum Depression Hits Celebrity Women too

According to The Sun, several celebrity mothers have shared their struggle with postpartum depression. One of them is “Hello” singer Adele who shared that after the birth of Angelo, her son, she felt inadequate and embarrassed to talk about how she felt.

In December, after the wife of John Legend – model Chrissy Teigen – gave birth to their daughter Luna, she was diagnosed with post-natal depression and went into a downward spiral.

It was a similar experience for actress Gwyneth Paltrow after she gave birth in 2006 to son Moses. Likewise, Loose Woman Stacey Solomon had the same condition when she gave birth to first son Zachary when she was just 18. WAG Rebekah Vardy, the wife of footballer James Vardy, also shared a similar experience when she gave birth to son Finley.

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