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Singing workshops for pregnant women gain rave reviews

22 March 2011

An innovative new programme of singing workshops for pregnant women—Womb Song—being run by Hospital Arts, part of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, is attracting wide interest.

An innovative new programme of singing workshops for pregnant women—Womb Song—being run by Hospital Arts, part of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, is attracting wide interest.

Feedback from women who have attended Womb Song since its launch in February has been overwhelmingly positive—100% of women who attended the first session said they felt happier and inspired afterwards and that they would recommend Womb Song to other mothers-to-be.

The workshops have also gained positive media coverage—most recently in the Evening Standard on Monday 21 March.

The workshops, which are co-funded by the Charity in partnership with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Arts Grants Scheme, run every Monday evening (excluding Bank Holidays) until Monday 4 July from 6-8pm at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

The workshops, led by community singing teacher Maya Waldman, include postural, breathing and vocal exercises. Women sing songs that are easily to learn and memorise, using a repertoire including short songs and songs with repeated phrasing such as rounds.

Singing provides emotional, social, educational and physical benefits for pregnant women and their babies during pregnancy, labour and after birth. Singing to babies when they are in the womb builds a powerful way of communicating with their baby that parents can continue once the child is born, positively influencing the parent-child bond. Singing to babies can also facilitate language development.

Singing is an exercise in breathing and the singing of sustained notes can help people find a way into relaxing the unconscious reflex of the breathing mechanism. Such techniques can usefully add to any breathing techniques that are taught by midwives or at any childbirth classes. The workshops are also a fun and informal group where mutual support is encouraged.

Marjaana Vanska, Active Birth Teacher at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said: “The benefits to mothers-to-be taking part in this project are important, both during pregnancy and after birth. The workshops fit in well with the breathing exercises and antenatal classes that we already run.”

Katherine Mellor, Arts Director for Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Maya Waldman and the Maternity team on the Womb Song project. It is a perfect example of the kind of excellent and innovative arts-in-health work that Hospital Arts strives to deliver.”