Should fathers stay away during their child's delivery?

21 January, 2015

Could fathers really be a hindrance rather than a help during the process of childbirth? In some cases they can, scientists have found.

The results of a recent study has shown for some women the presence of their partner may intensify the pain of giving birth rather than soothe.

Thirty-nine participants were subjected to "pinprick" laser impulses on their fingers whilst lying in an MRI scanner so brain activity could be monitored. They were asked whether the pain felt was reduced having their partners nearby. For some having them within close proximity made the experience worse.

Katerina Fotopoulou, a cognitive neuroscientist from University College London who led the research said the findings raised questions about the "one-size-fits-all" approach.

"Overall, this study suggests that partner support during pain may need to be tailored to individual personality traits and coping preferences," Dr Fotopoulou said.

The results of the study were published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.