Not to scare future mothers out there but we’ll give you the facts right now: childbirth is not for the faint of heart. Ask any mother and they’d tell you that the experience is no joke and that words aren’t enough to describe the pain – from the labor to the actual delivery.
According to experts, however, there is a way to minimize pain aside from medical pain relief solutions such as anaesthesia. In a study, we learn that spouses can play a big role in helping ease a woman’s discomfort – by being present in the delivery room and lending support.
In a study published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), we learn that merely holding hands with their partner can be beneficial for mothers during childbirth.
In a SmartParenting feature, we read:
“Researchers from the University of Colorado in the United States and the University of Haifa in Israel explored a phenomenon called ‘interpersonal synchronization.’ It suggests that people physiologically mirror the people they are with. The sense of touch seems to help synchronize the two individual’s brainwaves, as well as their breathing and heart rates. If applied to a couple, this synchronization helps them feel more at ease.”
Study lead author Pavel Goldstein said he wanted to test his theory about the power of holding hands based on his own experience when his wife was in labor. He observed she seemed to be comforted by his presence and touch.
In their research, they followed 22 couples between the ages of 23 and 32 who have at least been together for a year. The participants were asked to sit in separate rooms, sit apart in the same room, and then sit close while touching each other. Afterwards, they were observed with the same three scenarios but with the woman exposed to mild heat-related pain.
The scientists came to one conclusion: human touch reduced the pain the women felt.
“Pain totally interrupts this interpersonal synchronization between couples and touch brings it back,” pointed out Goldstein. “Empathetic touch can make a person feel understood, which in turn, according to previous studies, could activate pain-kil ling reward mechanisms in the brain.”
So far, the study is still in its infancy (no pun intended!) so its still too early to say touch officially declare anything but the experts believe that it is a promising thought to consider and it’s reassuring to know that a husband, as partner, can be a big aid in his wife’s challenging journey to motherhood – even at the delivery room!
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