J Korean Soc Matern Child Health.  2019 Apr;23(2):109-114. 10.21896/jksmch.2019.23.2.109.

Effect of Birth Experience on Cognitive Function

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, School of Medicine, Konkuk University, Korea. icarus@kku.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Konkuk University Chungju Hospital, Korea.
  • 3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul Clinical Laboratories, Korea.
  • 4Department of Nursing, Konkuk University, Korea.
  • 5Department of Biomedical Engineering, Research Institute of Biomedical Engineering, College of Science & Technology, Konkuk University, Korea.

Abstract

PURPOSE
This study aimed to investigate whether birth experience affects short-term memory (1,2-back task) by examining parturient and non-parturient women.
METHODS
A total of 31 women were enrolled in this study, of which 16 were parturient women who had given birth within the past 2 years (mean age: 33.9±2.2 years) and 15 were non-parturient (mean age: 31.4±2.1 years). The mean age did not significantly differ between the two groups, so the effects of age were eliminated. To match the level of education between the two groups, college graduation was an inclusion criterion. A 1,2-back task consisting of six alphabets from A-F was created using the SuperLab software. For each task, there were 100 stimuli (alphabets) and 30 answers. The participants practiced the task prior to the main experiment to ensure that they adequately understood the procedure.
RESULTS
The correct answer rates in the 1-back and 2-back tasks were 93.56±22.23% and 76.89±21.98%, respectively, in the non-parturient group and 95±10.04% and 80.83±13.67%, respectively, in the parturient group. The reaction time in the 1-back and 2-back tasks were 650.57±173.77 ms and 736.77±138.35 ms, respectively, in the non-parturient group and 621.91±81.90 ms and 737.5±195.99 ms, respectively, in the parturient group. There were no significant differences in the answer rates between the two groups, suggesting that parturition did not have a significant impact on the 1,2-back task performance.
CONCLUSION
Birth experience does not significantly impair cognitive function. However, the findings of this pilot study are not highly reliable because of the limitations of the small sample size, degree of load, various types of working memory, and impact of hormones.

Keyword

pregnancy; birth experience; cognitive function

MeSH Terms

Cognition*
Education
Female
Humans
Memory, Short-Term
Parturition*
Pilot Projects
Pregnancy
Reaction Time
Sample Size
Task Performance and Analysis
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