Singing! Yes, of course! It is part of life, like walking, running, dancing...
All civilizations have sung. But it was not until the twentieth century that it was possible to live without singing. When you can listen to the best singers on all kinds of media, when singing becomes a simple activity, it is possible to get to the point where you never sing; sometimes because you don't allow yourself to, sometimes because nobody sings around you.
Being pregnant, becoming a parent is an opportunity to ask ourselves tons of questions. What do we want to pass on to this baby in the making? From the moment of pregnancy, what cocoon should we weave around him?
What are the benefits of prenatal singing?
Prenatal singing has taken off since 1975 when it started in Paris. It is now associated with birth preparations, but is not always offered by midwives. It develops certain specific themes:
- Well-being throughout pregnancy: there is no particular term to start. As mentioned earlier, singing is a part of life, there is no contraindication! In a prenatal singing workshop, women who are a few weeks pregnant, women who are close to giving birth and even young women with their babies can be brought together, without forgetting the spouses who have their place in the group. The exercises practiced allow us to accompany the constant bodily changes, to explore, to become familiar with and to appropriate these sensations. They help to feel good, to create new reference points, by accommodating all these novelties while connecting with its small inhabitant. Each one does it at her own pace, but the proposals are varied and dynamic: to seek stability via the center of gravity, by mobilizing the feet, the legs, the pelvis; to support the weight of the abdomen with the uterus, to surround the baby; to exert the support of the breath... Singing is practiced on the exhalation, it is in total adequacy with the respirations of the traditional preparations.
- Another richness of vocal practice is the vibration: as soon as a sound is emitted, it spreads throughout the body and reaches the baby. It is a real micro-massage that touches absolutely everything, the bones being the great transmitters allowing this general internal diffusion. The sound and the vibration also arrive by the outside, by its own voice and that of the others, but the voice of the mother is perceived three times more by the baby. This shows the importance of the singing carried by the pregnant woman.
The hormonal system and singing?
Let's face this sensitive subject right away: singing right. We don't care! What counts is to emit varied sounds, because each frequency / each note touches the body differently. To go towards the low, towards the high, to exploit all the richnesses of its voice takes part to create these micro-massages. Precisely, when one is pregnant, the voice is more extended. Yes, yes... The voice is linked to our hormonal system, which, to say the least, is very involved in pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, singing during pregnancy is a gift that we give to ourselves and to the baby. And since it's easier because of the hormonal support, it would be really sad to do without.
Prenatal singing during labor?
During labor, the sounds emitted can be very low, it is quite particular at this time. These unusual frequencies vibrate directly in the pelvis and accompany the contractions: the vibrations avoid tensing up, especially since the fact of emitting the sound favors the management of the breath. The repetition of these sounds held in the low tones helps to "let go" of the neo-cortex, this part of the brain which is very useful for thinking and analyzing but which it is better to leave aside when giving birth. The vibrations also accompany and support the baby in its progression towards the exit.
The birth is thus supported by sounds. The songs will be for afterwards. During the pregnancy, a whole repertoire is proposed (which can be enriched individually by each one by finding the songs of her childhood). These are specific songs, which speak of the pregnancy, which are addressed to the baby. Rond, mon ventre est rond, tel une caresse, rond mon ventre est rond, je te berce (Rond, Odile Rami). There are also some lullabies, tender and poetic songs...
Prenatal singing to create a bond?
The newborn baby is delighted to find these songs that link him to his intra-uterine experience. When he is present in the group, it is a chance to watch his gestures, his mimics, his reactions while we sing.
For the mother, coming back to the singing workshop after the birth, in the same group, allows her to remain connected to the others, always very supportive, to take advantage of this bridge between the before and after which is often missing and leaves young mothers sometimes a little isolated. Singing songs to your baby, finding the one he prefers, is to rediscover an ancestral means of communication, so strong, which can prove to be a great support in the most difficult moments of crying for example. And if it doesn't calm the baby, singing will do the mother good!
Who is Marie-Laure Potel, author of this article?
I often say that I had the chance to do pre-natal singing! Indeed, as a young pianist, I started accompanying workshops led by a midwife. It was a complete discovery. I didn't even really know what a midwife did. To find myself in the middle of a group of "fatties": what an emotion. What a revelation... What a chance too. A few years later, pregnant in my turn, I was rich of all these discoveries. Since then, I have had the joy and privilege of passing them on to others.
Our menstrual panties are also made for the post-partum period!