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Innovative singing workshops for pregnant women are back

25 April 2012

An innovative programme of weekly singing workshops for pregnant women—Womb Song—is set to return to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in May.

An innovative programme of weekly singing workshops for pregnant women—Womb Song—is set to return to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in May.

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 not only builds a powerful way of communicating with their baby that parents can continue once the child is born, positively influencing the parent-child bond, but it can also facilitate language development.

Community singing teacher Maya Waldman leads the workshops which include postural, breathing and vocal exercises. Women sing songs that are easy to learn and memorise, using a repertoire including short songs and songs with repeated phrasing such as rounds.

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.”

Singing is an exercise in breathing and the singing of sustained notes can help women 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.

Feedback from women who attended Womb Song workshops in the hospital last year was overwhelmingly positive—98% 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.

Womb Song workshops, which are organised and funded by Hospital Arts, part of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, will be held every Monday (excluding Bank Holidays) from 14 May from 6:30–8pm in The Tent which can be found on the 2nd Floor of the hospital. They are drop-in classes so no need to book, just turn up.

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.”

For more information, please contact Hospital Arts on 020 3315 6617 or via email at arts@chelwestcharity.org.uk.