Postnatal Depression is widespread and often under reported. Reports suggest that around 15%-50% of women experience symptoms.
Maternal suicide is one of the leading causes of death among women in the UK during pregnancy and the year after birth.
Maternal mental health services are patchy and over-stretched, with long waiting lists and widely varying standards of care.
The human cost is devastating and potentially long-lasting to the suffering mother, her child, her partner and wider social relationships.
The financial cost is over £8 billion per year cohort of babies born.
Women, their children and families need and deserve better.
Group Singing for the Treatment of Postnatal Depression
Pram Chorus members have been reporting for seven years how much better they feel after Pram Chorus singing sessions. They have reported that participating helps improve symptoms of postnatal depression in women, through the act of singing with others and through the community of other parents, notably, not all first time parents. Second time or parents of older preschoolers are able to offer advice, support and to signpost other support services.
“I joined Pram Chorus when I was really struggling with early motherhood. I discovered singing was a weekly lifeline, amongst a lovely group of women. I am living proof it [Pram Chorus] works with alleviating the suffering of PND.” - Vikki, member of Pram Chorus from March to September 2013.
“Singing changes the tone of your day. When you’ve had no sleep and life feels tough, it makes you feel lighter and able to cope.” - Nina, member of Pram Chorus from September 2018 to present.
New research demonstrates that group singing reduces symptoms of postnatal depression faster than either usual treatments or creative play groups, amongst women with moderate to severe symptoms. The research states:
“10-week programmes of group singing workshops could help speed the recovery from symptoms of PND among new mothers.” - D.Fancourt, R.Perkins.
“The progression I saw in mums was incredible in 10 weeks. I had three separate music groups, and the connection that was formed was so intense and positive that all three groups are still friends with each other.” - Penny Osmond, Singing Leader in the research program.
In response to anecdotal reporting by Pram Chorus members, the new BJP research, and a lack of timely, quality perinatal mental health services, Pram Chorus has become an active campaigner for group singing as treatment for postnatal depression. They have partnered with two charities: Cocoon Family Support, which provides specialist services to women suffering from postnatal depression and their families in London; and Little Village; to run “Sing For PND” groups in North and South London.
How Group Singing Works
Effect on the Brain. The physical act of singing boosts mood and endorphins, as well as actively engaging multiple neural networks.
Social Isolation. It responds to social isolation, which is a significant contributing factor in PND, providing a sense of community and commonality.
Response to the Music. Participants can have a positive, personal response to particular songs.
Mother-Baby Bonding. Singing with her baby, increases a sense of bonding between mother and child as well as a sense of confidence in the mother regarding her parenting abilities.
Less suffering for the mother due to the fast reduction in symptoms of PND.
Fast improvement in quality of care for the child thereby supporting the child’s cognitive, social and emotional development.
Fast improvement in wider family and social relationships.
Lower suicide rates, one of the leading causes of death for mothers in the perinatal period.
Reduction in Financial Cost.
Lasting effects: Learning songs means mothers can continue singing to their baby when not in the group, so continue experiencing the positive effects, and could have lower rates of recurrence of PND than currently.
 D.Fancourt and R.Perkins: Effects of Singing Interventions on Symptoms of Postnatal Depression: three-arm-randomised controlled trial.: British Journal Of Psychiatry, Feb 2018
 V.Alluri, P.Toiviainen, L.P. Lääskeläinen, E.Glerean, M.Sams, E.Brattico: Large-scale brain networks emerge from dynamic processing of musical timbre, key and rhythm: NeuroImage, 2011
 E..Pearce, J.Launay, R.I.M.Dunbar: The Ice Breaker Effect: Singing Mediates Fast Social Bonding. Royal Society Open Science, 2. 2015
 T.Nakata, S.E.Trehub: Infants’ Responsiveness to Maternal Speech and Singing. Infant Behavior and Development, 27. 2004