So this subject seems to come up a lot. Men at birth!
The argument is that dads should not be in the delivery room during labor. Obviously that is because it is now more common than ever that dads can be found in the delivery room.
Some research carried out by University College London researchers working with teams at King’s College London and the University of Hertfordshire took 39 women, who were each given a ‘pinprick’ laser pulse on their finger while their husband or boyfriend stood by.
They monitored their brain activity and asked their opinions of how painful it was. Then they repeated the tests with the husband or boyfriend standing in another room.
I have two issues with this so far. We live in a world now where the term ‘Partner’ doesnt necessarily denote that partner is male so why wasn’t same-sex couples included in this research. This change could easily just be an effect of a loved one, not just the fact that it is a husband or a boyfriend.
Also is it a possibility that the reason it wasnt so painful the second time wasn’t because the partner was in another room, but because the body had already felt that pain and was therefore in some way prepared for it?
I am also unlucky/lucky enough (depending how you look it) to not be able to give birth, BUT after reading many birth stories I am confident in saying that pain and feeling of giving birth is impossible to replicate especially with a ‘pinprick’. (Queue the jokes about “that’s how all this started!”)
Anyway, enough of my opinion let see what the Experts actually said.
Katerina Fotopoulou, a cognitive neuroscientist who led the work at University College London, said:
“Some women might feel more uncomfortable with their partner there. It raises questions about the one-size-fits-all approach.”
“Previous research has shown that women prefer to have their partners present during childbirth and they make less use of painkillers after labour,”
“The different results of this controlled experiment could suggest that some of the previous results may not necessary relate to the sensation of physical pain, but the broader meanings and needs associated with childbirth.”
“The physical and psychological nature of labour pain may simply be different than other types of pain. Future studies could test how having a partner present during labour affects the pain felt by women who tend to avoid closeness in relationships.”
“Overall, this study suggests that partner support during pain may need to be tailored to individual personality traits and coping preferences,”
The research was published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
So is the pain effected by the fact the partner is there or whether they have a close relationship? I’m confused. If both mother and father have a great relationship does that mean pain is reduced? Are these results the same when a mum/sister/dad/dog/budgie are present or is it just men? (Stupid men *shakes fist in the air*)
I think this research is a little high level and there are too many variables related to labor for any research like this to have any credence, but hey…thats just my opinion. I also think a budgie would make a great birthing partner so what do I know!
Needless to say, when The Mrs gave birth I gave her the option both times to take her mum/sister (We didn’t own a budgie) into the delivery room and although it would have crushed me to miss the birth of either of my children I would have given that up if it would have been better for my wife.
I was going to include a poll on this post for people to vote after reading this post and this article (I found this one to be the best on the subject) but after seeing a couple of them elsewhere the results always seemed to be the same. So instead I will just ask this..
Mums – If you believe this research would you ever ask your partner to NOT be involved in labor?
Partners – Would you ever consider NOT being involved simply to reduce the pain to your partner? Even if she wanted you there?
Let me know your opinions below!
As always, thanks for reading.