How Holding Your Partner's Hand During Labour Can Ease the Pain
25 March 2018
This might differ from one woman to another, and it depends on how you choose to give birth. But for most women, having your partner next to you during labour eases stress, and in many cases, even pain!
While most people believe holding your partner’s hand during labour in merely emotional and mental support, science suggests there’s a solid proof the touch and closeness of your significant other can have substantial effects on our perception of pain. According to a study inspired by lead researcher’s Pavel Goldstein’s experience of holding his wife’s hand during labour.
After his experience, Goldstein realised how his touch helped ease the pain of his wife, and then decided to conduct a research on the matter to find out whether there’s a scientific proof to it.
Goldstein said: ‘It helped reduce her pain, after, I was thinking about that. What does it mean? How was it helpful? It was at this point I started to think about researching social touch and pain.’
The postdoctoral pain researcher at University of Colorado Boulder then teamed up with a host of researchers from the University of Haifa and found out that providing loving touches to a partner in pain syncs up your breathing and heart rates, hence you become more empathetic toward them. Which thereby makes your brain waves sync up. Eventually, all of that leads to reducing the perception of pain.
This research illustrates the importance of human touch to one another, that’s what Goldstein explained about his work.
And while the researcher has studies ‘interpersonal synchronization’ before, and how couples end up ‘mirroring’ each other after a while, this was the first study to focus on how this synchronization could actually have physical impacts in reducing the pain.
The research results also found out that the presence only of one’s partner is associated with some brain wave synchronicity. However, only the touch has the ability of actually reducing the pain.
Goldstein explained the results need further research, as this one was performed on a small group of only heterosexual couples. But if anything, it definitely refers to the real power of a loved one’s touch in healing.