Music Therapy in Perinatal Psychiatry: Use of Lullabies for Pregnant and Postpartum Women with Mental Illness
Lullabies are a universal and ancient song form that play an important role in both comforting infants and providing a critical bonding experience, which has been borne out by research. An innovative lullaby program at an urban community music school was transferred to a Perinatal Mental Health Program at a community mental health center. Participants in the music therapy group include those with depression, bipolar disorder, or psychosis who were pregnant or postpartum, their infants, and various treatment team members. Goals of this cross-disciplinary novel program include mothers learning to use music to enhance self-expression, coping, inspiration, and relaxation. In particular, the program addresses how music might calm infants and respond to their distress. Barriers to such a program include funding issues, transportation, and recruitment. A lullaby music therapy program is a feasible component in the treatment of mental illness during pregnancy and the postpartum period.