Having Your Partner In The Room Is A Good Way To Make Childbirth Even More Miserable
If you have ever squeezed a six-to-ten-pound person out through your baby-chute, there may have been at least a few moments during the process where you wished your partner wasn’t right next to you. Like in the waiting room down the hall, for example. Or in the hospital gift shop to buy you the biggest box of chocolates and bouquet of flowers in the there. Or maybe on the moon. Without a spacesuit.
If your male partner knocked you up, you already knew the pain of labor was his fault – but you might not have realized the extent to which that was literally true. See, science has come up with an explanation for why laboring moms might find themselves wishing that their partners would take a hike: according to a report from the BBC, women feel more pain, or at least feel pain more intensely, when their loved ones are in their presence.
The research involved asking women in heterosexual couples (only about 40 total, so take all of these findings with a grain of salt) questions about their relationship, and then shocking them with painful laser pulses. Hey, scientists in the United Kingdom – know how the villains in science fiction movies always have British accents? This is why. You’re living up to the stereotype, people. Anyway, the women then ranked their pain on a scale from ‘papercut’ to ‘OH GOD, THE BABY IS CROWNING‘, and had the level of activity in the ‘You in danger, girl’ regions of the brain measured on an EEG.
Women in the survey were more likely to experience sharper pain with their partner in the room if they described their relationship in certain ways. For example, if they would use the word ‘uncomfortable’ – which is about the best description of any relationship in which one partner is hissing, “YOU DID THIS TO MEEEE” at the other one every five minutes.
Since my birth plan for the twins was “have a C-section”, I don’t know what, if anything, I would do differently given this information. There is one trade-off that I can think of to having a partner you’re in an uncomfortable relationship with in the room during the birth of your child: getting a chance to try wrenching his arm out of the socket with every new contraction.
The BBC has yet to report on whether or not a man-cold becomes worse when the guy’s partner is at home to take care of him, but I hope to see more on this front from leading researchers soon.