Does having your partner in the delivery room make labour more painful?


When it comes to labour and delivery, all mums want the experience to be as pain free and stress free as possible. A recent study suggests that having your partner in the delivery room with you can actually amplify the pain of childbirth. So would you consider kicking your partner out of the labour room?

Watching your baby come into the world is one of the most amazing things you will ever witness. And this holds true for both mums and dads. But a study by University College London, King’s College London and the University of Hertfordshire suggests the pain women feel is not reduced by the presence of their partner. In fact, for women who do not normally respond well to emotional intimacy, having the support of a partner can actually make things worse.

If you are someone who prefers to keep things to yourself or handle pain alone, then having a partner with you in the delivery room may intensify your pain. For women who do share emotional intimacy with their partners, having them present was found to have no significant effect, good or bad, on the pain felt during labour and delivery.


The research, published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, monitored 39 women and measured their pain using a ‘pin prick’ laser pulse. The women were asked to rate the intensity of the pain but their electrical activity was also measured in response to the laser pulses. They also filled in a questionnaire to measure the extent to which they sought or avoided closeness in relationships.

Dr Katerina Fotopoulou, of UCL’s Psychology & Language Sciences, says the study suggests that partner support during pain may need to be tailored to each woman’s individual personality traits and coping preferences.

“Individuals who avoid closeness may find that the presence of others disrupts their preferred method of coping with threats on their own,” she says.

This isn’t the first time researchers have tried to uncover the relationship between partners and pain during labour. A study in 1962 by US doctor Robert Bradley suggested that the father’s presence essentially helped the woman relax. Conversely, in 2009, French obstetrician Michel Odent suggested that having the father in the delivery room made a woman more anxious and slowed down the production of oxytoxin, a hormone which helps the labour process.

I have to admit that I couldn’t imagine not having my husband by my side. He was my saviour when it came to the labour and delivery of our two children. But what about you? Would you consider kicking your partner out the door if it meant less pain?

(via The Telegraph)

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