1 Important Reason to Kick Dad Out of the Delivery Room

man at woman's birth

Childbirth is one of those times when you really want the dad by your side -- squeezing your hand, wiping your forehead, telling you that the blinding pain you're in will soon be a distant memory ... right? Well, not necessarily.

A new study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience suggests that the presence of your romantic partner can actually make the pain of labor worse. That's right -- your sweet, supportive hubby may just be twisting that dagger and intensifying your agony!


In a day and age when many dads-to-be bravely enter the delivery room rather than lurk outside, this news may be a surprise -- and a downer. What's more, previous studies have shown that women in labor use fewer painkillers when their partner is present. So why, then, does this new research show that partners are such thorns in our sides?

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In this study, led by Katerina Fotopoulou at University College London in conjunction with King’s College London and the University of Hertfordshire, researchers gave laser pulse pinpricks to 39 women, then asked them to rate the intensity of the pain they felt. Across the board, the presence of a partner did nothing to reduce their discomfort. Meanwhile, for women who indicated that they weren't very close to their partners, the pain was heightened. Sorry, gents.

So, not all guys exacerbate labor pain -- just the ones who aren't all that intimate with their baby mamas. But none really help. Researchers also theorize that women cope with pain in different ways, and those who deal by focusing inward may find the presence of the dad-to-be disruptive to their concentration.

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Bottom line: If you think your partner might just further irritate you in the throes of labor, give him the old "It's not you, it's me" line and ask him to wait outside.

What are your plans for managing pain during childbirth?


Image via Tyler Olson/shutterstock

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