How do you remember your experience of childbirth? Do you remember the length of time you were in the delivery room for or do your memories focus on the intense level of pain of the last few contractions?
According to a new study, a woman's memory of giving birth is shaped by different factors.
Post childbirth, mums remember the peak levels of pain and apply it to the whole experience, rather than focusing on the length of the childbirth. So even if it was only unbearable for three of those 14 hours, you'll apply it to the whole thing.
However, women who received an epidural remembered having lower levels of pain when asked to reflect on their overall experience of giving birth afterwards, the study found.
This is despite the fact an epidural is known to prolong birth, meaning they could have been in pain for longer, researchers said.
As part of the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, 320 women agreed to be accompanied by a researcher in the delivery room.
Each woman was asked to rate her pain every 20 minutes, on a scale of one (no pain) to 100 (highest level of pain possible).
Women were then contacted two days after delivery and asked to rate their memory of the pain using the same scale, from the moment they entered the delivery room up until the birth.
The new mums were contacted yet again two months later and asked to evaluate the pain levels once more.
Eran Chajut of the Open University of Israel, one of the lead authors in the study, concluded that epidurals are not only beneficial during the childbirth itself but are also effective in modifying women’s memory of the event so they remember less pain.
What do you remember most about your labour? Let us know in the comments box below.