British songstress Adele. Picture: Bang Showbiz
Pop singer Adele has been hailed as “an artist who comes around once every generation”.

She is a vocal force whose ballads are masterpieces composed of powerful belts and airy falsettos.

It might be hard to imagine the Grammy Award-winner would have trouble nailing any song.

But during a concert in Sydney, Australia, last year Adele had an unusual request for her fans as she prepared to sing her 2012 hit Skyfall, the Oscar-winning theme song from the James Bond movie.

She asked them to “bear with” her because she was struggling to reach the song’s low notes.

“When I wrote that song, I was heavily pregnant,” Adele told the audience. She said one of the symptoms she experienced was her voice getting “a lot lower”.

Other women have experienced the same phenomenon. Scientific evidence shows pregnancy and giving birth can cause a temporary change in voices.

A recent study at the University of Sussex in Britain, showed the pitch of new mothers’ voices could be lower and more monotonous after the birth of their first child. This “vocal masculinising” can last for at least a year after giving birth.

The exact cause for this was unknown but possible explanations included hormone and behaviour changes.

Recent research suggests the pitch of a woman’s voice fluctuates based on fertility. Researchers observed “a big rise in hormones during pregnancy and a drop-off after” which can affect voices.

People who have lower-pitched voices are judged to be more competent, mature and dominant, which may indicate the change is behavioural. “It could be women are modulating their own voices to sound more authoritative, faced with the new challenges of parenting.” -

The Washington Post