Study finds having your other half hold your hand during labour actually decreases pain
Giving birth is probably the most intense and life-altering thing most of us (women) will go through in our lives.
I remember being very worried about labour when I was pregnant with my first baby, unsure of what to expect, how painful it would be, how I would be able to cope – if I would be able to cope. My best friend, who was already a mama, bestowed these useful words about giving birth on me: "Just remember; when it gets to that point when you think you can't actually do this anymore, it is almost over."
I clung to these words, rolling them over and over in my mind as my contractions grew stronger, realizing that when I did start to feel like this was all a bit too much, it was actually almost over. As well as my best friend's birth advice, having my partner there also helped, of course. There is something about having someone there who will help you through, remind you to breathe and just keep you focused and feel safe.
And much as the midwifes or doulas are there to also do just that, studies have now shown that having your partner there with you when you give birth, holding your hand, can actually lessen a woman's labour pain quite significantly. Note it the the holding hand that is the key here, as apparently, if your partner was just sitting next to you, but not holding hands, your pain levels would not be affected.
In a recent study published in , it was discovered that when a partner held the hand of a woman during labour, the couple would begin to synchronize their breathing and heart rate patterns, otherwise known as physiological coupling.
Labouring, bringing a baby into the world, is a huge job. It is exhausting and painful and intense – which is why anything a partner can do for you while you are in labour is helpful – even if they are doing nothing more than holding your hand. According to experts, shared empathy between partners causes physiological coupling and pain relieving effects that help a woman when she’s experiencing pain.
Remember, every little thing a partner does to make the mum who is giving birth more comfortable matters so much. Every sip of water offered, every ice cube fetched, every new position suggested, every word of encouragement, every reminder to breathe, every single touch, provides comfort to the laboring woman.
Who held YOUR hand during labour, mama? Did it make a difference having your partner there?