How your personality can determine how painful childbirth will be

How your personality can determine how painful childbirth will be

November 3, 2021

CHILDBIRTH is a scary prospect but experts now claim that you can determine how painful it will be before the event and it's all down to your personality.

Many women can suffer with fear of childbirth (FOC) and medics in Germany say that it's this group that will have a 'very different' labour experience than others.

Experts said that pregnant women with certain personality traits tend to have a negative labour experience.

Personality types such as women who are less conscientious and less open minded tend to have a bad time of it.

These women were found to especially struggle if they encountered unexpected issues with their labour and have to instead have a Cesarean rather than a natural birth.

These unexpected issues, the experts say, included premature birth, which is when a woman goes into labour before having carried the baby for more than 37 weeks.

The experts said that this is a normal as premature births are 'relate to unfavourable outcomes'.

However, they stated that women who are more conscientious often like to have control over things and that it's likely these women had a bad experience as the situation couldn't be managed by them.

Writing in the PLoS ONE journal, they said that it's also these women that reacted poorly to emergency c-sections as they are no longer able to 'independently' manage the pregnancy.

If these women also have to have anaesthetics, it's likely they will have a negative experience, the experts said.

In order to gather their results the experts used data from the Maternal Anxiety in Relation to Infant Development study and then followed this up by questioning the women on their fear of childbirth during pregnancy and within the first 10 days after giving birth.

In total 533 women were screened in Dresden, Germany, with 306 women in total having participated with others being taken off the study due to conditions such as serious disease or if they had a history of abortion.

Personality traits were measured with the use of the 'Big Five'.

This concept looks at openness to experiences, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and emotional stability.

The experts states: "Higher emotional stability and higher agreeableness predicted a greater discrepancy between birth experiences and women who suffered with FOC.

"Especially more emotionally stable and agreeable women experienced their delivery as worse that expected".

The researchers said that this particularly applied to women who had previously given birth and women who did not have anaesthetic.

The experts said that less emotionally stable people are more prone to anxiety and that this could therefore explain why some women suffered with FOC.

"Less agreeable and less extraverted women might have fewer and less supportive social relationships and thus receive lower levels of social support in order to cope with birth-related fears", they added.

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