Home Health Parents News Now Study: Fear of Childbirth May Prolong Labor Study: Fear of Childbirth May Prolong Labor By Holly Lebowitz Rossi June 28, 2012 Advertisement Save Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print Study: Fear of Childbirth May Prolong Labor 29727 Study author Dr. Samantha Salvesen Adams initially thought her team would find the prolonged labor could be explained by other factors - women who feared birth the most were first time mothers, who are known to have longer labors anyway, or obstetric interventions like epidurals. But when those factors were taken into consideration, the difference in time between the fearless and the fearful was still 47 minutes. "Mental stress is associated with physiological arousal and release of stress hormones," Adams wrote in an e-mail. "During labour, high levels of stress hormones may weaken uterine [contractions]." In other words, the adrenaline released when a body is stressed stops the oxytocin hormone production that makes a woman's uterus contract, slowing labor. It's a natural, biological response to fear, [Dr. Stuart] Fischbein said. Image: Pregnant woman with clock, via Shutterstock. By Holly Lebowitz Rossi Save Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print Comments Add a Comment Be the first to comment! No comments yet. Advertisement Close this dialog window Add a comment Study: Fear of Childbirth May Prolong Labor Add your comment... Cancel Submit Success! Thanks for adding your feedback.