Any evidence that women’s pain tolerance increases after childbirth?—Tina
Usually I’m negatively surprised by data availability. As in, I think there should be evidence on something and there isn’t. Only very rarely do I think, “Oh, no one will have studied that systematically” and then they have. This is one of those times!
This paper did a very simple experiment. The researchers focused on three groups of women: women who had children, women of a similar age without children, and younger women without children. They subjected all of the women to a cold pressor test (a test for pain tolerance that relies on having people put their arm in cold water and seeing how long they can do it for). They compared the pain tolerance across groups.
The women who had children had a higher pain tolerance than either of the other groups, suggesting that, in fact, childbirth had changed the pain threshold. The abstract succinctly concludes: “It [the finding] is consistent with anecdotal reports from parous women who, when providing cold pressor pain judgments, say that ‘nothing compares to labor pain.’ ”