How does detecting pregnancy from voices work?

Voices are sensitive to hormonal changes. That’s why your voice changes during puberty. When we think of vocal changes during puberty, we usually think of how voices of boys change, because it is so obvious: even when boys try to hide their vocal change, we notice it.

However also girls’ voices change during puberty, less obviously than male voices, but they do change. Hormones affect female voices, even during their menstrual cycle and during pregnancy. Many of us do not perceive how our voices change, as it does not affect our everyday life. Professional singers and actors pay a lot of attention to their voice, and they report how hormones can affect their voice. In this article in the Huffington Post the professional singer and vocal coach Ruth Gerson writes about how pregnancy affects her voice.

We want to pick up changes in voice that many of us are not aware of. For that we require good technology. We have good technology. In fact, we use state-of-the-art technology that is also used by companies like Google and Microsoft to analyse voices.

However we need voice samples for improving our technology. For detecting whether a voice sounds pregnant, we need to compare it with voices of pregnant and non-pregnant speakers. That is why we have developed an app that allows you to donate your voice. We call our app Mantra and you can download it on the Google Play Store and on the Apple App Store.