Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of Music

Document Type



When a singer becomes pregnant, carries and gives birth to a child, the body changes in numerous physical ways. Many of these changes may significantly impact singing during the pregnancy and postpartum periods. It is hoped that the research and recommendations contained in this document may offer perspective and practical advice for postpartum recovery as it pertains to singers and professional voice users.

After briefly describing the topic selection with a description of delimitations, the author’s history of singing and experience leading up to physical therapy and postpartum care is explored. Next, the effects of pregnancy and childbirth on the body, particularly those effects which impact the singing voice, are addressed. Aspects of this topic, which have been discussed by previous authors, will be reviewed to serve as a basis for the postpartum recovery topics which are explored at length in later chapters.

This document focuses on childbirth and the postpartum period, particularly topics of postpartum recovery pertaining to singers. Issues regarding lingering physical pain and difficulty initiating and maintaining the “singer's breath” that can be addressed using orthopedic physical therapy are discussed, as well as topics of postpartum recovery addressed in pelvic floor therapy. Particular attention is given to pelvic floor exercises, manual therapy, relaxation techniques, and hypopressive breathing. Recovery for singers who experience childbirth via Cesarean section is discussed. Portions of an interview with a pelvic floor therapist are included.

Finally, this document addresses vocal rehabilitation of postpartum singers, focusing on posture, breathing, and voice rehabilitation. Special considerations for the teacher of a postpartum singer are included. In addition, the author’s personal experiences as a singer with postpartum rehabilitation following pregnancy and childbirth are recounted. Included are singing exercises and practices which have been utilized in the author’s ongoing recovery, as well as the specific aspects of physical rehabilitation which have been most effective in addressing her physical and vocal rehabilitation and recovery as a postpartum singer. The full transcript of the author’s interview with a pelvic floor therapist is found in the appendices, along with a postpartum singing questionnaire which may be helpful to the recovering singer.



Committee Chair

Gray, Robert