Moms-to-be can now heave a sigh of relief! Researchers have found where labour pain comes from, a breakthrough which they claim could soon open the way to the development of improved methods to alleviate it.
Though childbirth is painful, scientists're still somewhat in the dark about what actually causes the pain.
But, now a team at Karolinska Institutet has discovered that labour pains mainly derive from the cervix, where the number of pain-related nerve fibres and receptors is much greater than in the uterus at full-term pregnancy.
In fact, their study has also revealed that uterine pain sensitivity differs markedly between pregnant and non-pregnant women.
In the latter, the entire uterus is pain-sensitive, while in the former, the pain-sensitive nerve fibres disappear almost completely from the main body of the uterus, but remain in the cervix.
Spinal anaesthesia is currently the most effective way of providing pain relief. However, it is a resource-demanding method and has other drawbacks that limit its practicability.
"Women around the world, many of whom have no access to pain relief, are literally crying out for them.
"The results create new opportunities for developing simpler and effective methods of pain relief, with the focus on the cervix," lead researcher Berith Karlsson Tingker was quoted by the ScienceDaily as saying.