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Having Partner Present During Delivery Reduces Childbirth Pain

Researchers found that volunteers were able to tolerate more pain when their loved one was with them in the room as compared to when they were alone.


A new study now finds that people can tolerate more pain if their romantic partner is in the room with them, answering an age-old question on whether men should be in the delivery room with their partners during childbirth.
According to the study conducted by researchers at The University of Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, they gradually applied more pressure onto the fingernails of participants in a series of experiments.
Researchers found that volunteers were able to tolerate more pain when their loved one was with them in the room as compared to when they were alone. However, as a part of the study, the partners were not allowed to hold the hands of the partners or speak to them. They were only allowed to make eye contact.
The researchers further found that the painkilling effect was greater if the partner was considered to be empathetic. Speaking about the study, lead researcher Professor Stefan Duschek said that repeatedly talking and touching have been shown to reduce pain. However, "research shows even the passive presence of a romantic partner can reduce it and that partner empathy may buffer effective distress during pain exposure. The results confirm the analgesic effects of social support, which may even occur without verbal or physical contact."


During the course of the study involving 48 straight couples, one person from each couple went through experiments, in which their index finger was put into a machine, where machine slowly added weight onto the fingernail until participants gave a stop signal when the pain was too much.
The routine was repeated thrice, both alone with a study conductor, and when their partner was sitting one metre away from them.
Researchers found that participants had a higher pain tolerance when their partner was there, and rated their pain as lower. Furthermore they found that participants who had empathetic partners appeared to have a greater increase in their pain tolerance than those who did not.



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