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Philip Welford

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Why birth labour (labor) pain might be essential to infant survival.

Just an offering. Discomfort in labour may have a purpose.
Pain is nature's way of making sure the mother to be is awake and aware and in a safe place, to provide immediate protection, care and bonding on emergence from the womb. If it was painless e.g. during sleep, the infant could die from exposure, starvation or be taken by a predator. There's even the possibility the mother might not realise it's her baby, and ignore it. Some women who've given birth under general anaesthesia say, "I couldn't believe he/she was mine!"
Perhaps animals other than humans aren't even aware they are pregnant. An animal in pain will take refuge in a quiet safe area which is why a prolonged labour is advantageous, giving time to find such a place. Without this alert they could give birth instantly wherever they are and just carry on walking. The pain also concentrates attention on the relevant area where the infant will emerge.
If this offering has some truth it may give ideas for reconsidering the ambience of birthing rooms. eg. less open, not so bright lights, but also, if women have an idea why birth labour happens, that there's a point to it, it may make it easier to cope with.

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    Mar 27 2013: Pain from contractions causes increased adrenalin which crosses the placenta to stimulate the babies metabolism in preperation for birth. In the non-human world a drowsy mother giving birth to a drowsy baby would be a recipe for disaster.
    • Mar 27 2013: A recipe for disaster which nature has solved?

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