Mariah Carey, she of the five-octave vocal range, is showing off her new figure. The platinum pop diva, who gave birth to twins in April, recently dropped 30 pounds -- but that's not all that's changed. Carey says pregnancy has made her voice stronger.
“Right now I feel like pregnancy actually helped me vocally,” Carey said, according to the Associated Press. “At this moment my voice is in great shape.”
Certainly sex hormones, like testosterone and estrogen, affect the voice -- for proof, just listen to any boy going through puberty. The same is true of women, according to a University of Iowa Voice Academy page -- the quality of their voice may change depending on whether they're menstruating, pregnant, breastfeeding or menopausal.
"Hormone shifts cause changes inside the larynx," according to the page. "Tissues hold fluid and blood vessels dilate, increasing vocal fold bulk. Puffier vocal folds vibrate differently, making speaking and singing more effortful."
In fact, it goes on to say, because of these changes, "European opera houses used to excuse singers from singing during premenstrual and early menstrual days."
Surprisingly little work seems to be out there studying pregnancy on singing voices -- but one 2011 study from the Journal of Voice tracked the performance of trained singers during the last 12 weeks of pregnancy and about 11 weeks after birth, as well as their estrogen and progesterone levels during that time. They found, among other things, "a perceptible decrease in vocal brightness."
Many of these changes sound like they're more negative than positive; so whether being preggers could improve a voice such as Mariah Carey's remains an open question.
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