8 Unexpected Causes Of Voice Change During Pregnancy

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Pregnancy is a lifetime experience that also brings various physiological, metabolic, and anatomical changes in a woman’s body, right from the time they conceive to birth and even after delivery. But have you ever noticed a woman’s voice change during pregnancy? If you enjoy singing but have found it difficult to do so after becoming pregnant, or if you observed a change in your voice after conceiving, there is no reason to panic as it’s quite normal. Pregnancy alters the quality and pace of perturbation of the voice, especially during the third trimester (1). Moreover, due to fluid retention during pregnancy, your vocal cords may also swell up, resulting in voice change (2). Continue reading to learn more about how your voice may change when pregnant.

Causes Of Voice Change During Pregnancy

Voice change during pregnancy can be caused by any of the following reasons:

1. Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes may cause voice change during pregnancy

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During pregnancy, the rapid rise of progesterone and estrogen levels affects the woman’s entire body, including the vocal cords (3) (4).

2. Increase in body fluids

Voice deepening or alternation can also be due to the increase in body fluids during pregnancy. Pregnancy increases blood volume by 45% and body fluids by three pounds (5) (6).

3. Edema or swelling of the vocal cords

Just like the other parts of the body, the vocal cords also swell during pregnancy. It causes heaviness in the vocal folds, altering the singing range. Pregnant women lose top notes but gain notes at the bottom. Do not strain your throat to reach the top notes. The blood vessels are extremely fragile during this time and may rupture if you strain to reach the top notes. It may also cause the vocal cords to tear.

4. Shift in voice range

During pregnancy, the blood vessels dilate across the whole body, including the vocal cords. Fragility of the vocal cord can also lead to change in voice.

5. Decrease in lung capacity

Decreased lung capacity may cause voice change during pregnancy

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You may experience difficulty in breathing during pregnancy. It is because the growing baby in your womb pushes the diaphragm and every other organ upwards. It results in a decrease in lung capacity, endurance, vocal fatigue, and a decrease in phonation time (2).

6. Prone to LPR

During pregnancy, hormones lead to Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). It results in the relaxation of the sphincter, which keeps the food in the stomach and prevents it from coming to the larynx. When the stomach capacity reduces, you are more likely to regurgitate acid. You may experience excessive throat clearing, postnasal drip, and altered voice (2).

7. Decrease In Nasal Resonance

During pregnancy there could be decrease in the nasal resonance, which may result in deep and husky voice (2).

8. Change In Posture

During pregnancy, there is a shift in the pelvis, back, and chest. It alters the entire support mechanism of a woman’s body, so much that she may not be able to sing in her last trimester (2).

When To Consult A Laryngologist

You should seek medical help in the following situations:

Seek medical help for sudden change in voice while speaking

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  • If you feel pain while speaking or singing.
  • If you notice a significant loss of voice during pregnancy.

Voice change during pregnancy is not uncommon and is seldom a reason for concern. The sudden shift in hormonal levels, vocal cord swelling, change in breathing patterns, and other medical reasons may lead to a change in your voice while pregnant. This change is more prevalent as you reach the last trimester. Moreover, your voice will return to normalcy in most cases soon after your baby’s birth. Nonetheless, it is important to consult a specialist if you have intense pain, detect sudden changes while speaking or singing, or have considerable voice loss during pregnancy.

References:

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shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs from the University of Mumbai. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health...
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Dr. Prachi Benara

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Dr. Prachi Benara has over a decade of experience as an infertility specialist. Having done her graduation and postgraduation in India, Dr. Prachi trained in reproductive medicine and IVF in the UK. In addition to a one-year PG diploma, she worked as an observer in the Oxford University Hospitals and trained in IUI, ultrasound, and embryo transfer at the British...
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