“In 1999 I was newly married and in the midst of doctoral studies in voice at The Ohio State University when I discovered that I was expecting a baby. As a student, graduate teaching assistant, and adjunct faculty member at another college, I was unsure how this would affect my singing and my performance obligations over the next nine months. Shaken and insecure, I immediately forfeited an opera role scheduled for the following May…”
This is the opening of my research article, “The Impact of Pregnancy on the Singing Voice: A Case Study”, which appears in the January/February 2012 issue of Journal of Singing, the journal of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. I was stunned to find that no research had been done on this topic and collaborated with speech-language pathologist Marina Gilman at the Emory Voice Center at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta for this project while I was expecting my third child, Elizabeth Jane.
At the outset I hypothesized that there would be a change in the appearance and mobility of the vocal folds during pregnancy. Surely this was the explanation for the change in timbre and increased warmth in vocal quality that many women experience during pregnancy. After nine months of study we found that this was not the case. My discoveries about the impact of pregnancy on the singing voice are revealed in the current issue of JOS!