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Papers of the Week

2020 Nov 20

J Womens Health (Larchmt)

The Need to Consider Pregnancy As a Biological Variable to Reduce Preventable Suffering Related to Pregnancy.


Thomas DA, Bruckheim HE, White JM
J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2020 Nov 20.
PMID: 33216677.


Maternal morbidity and mortality constitute a national health crisis, and pain is a significant component of maternal morbidity. One important way to reduce maternal morbidity is to reduce the pain associated with pregnancy. Unfortunately, our understanding of how to reduce pain in women is hampered because, historically, mostly male subjects have been used in the study of pain. However, more recently, females increasingly have been included in pain research studies, and astounding differences in how males and females process pain have been uncovered. Moreover, pain in nonpregnant women differs in many ways from pain experienced by pregnant women. We argue here that to better address maternal morbidity, we must better address the pain associated with pregnancy. Furthermore, just as it is important to include both men and women in pain research to better understand pain in both sexes, conducting pain research in pregnant women is essential to finding ways to reduce pain in pregnant women.