Men Are Choosing to Undergo Labor Pain Simulations, Hilarity Ensues
|It’s a well known fact of life: giving birth is typically painful; very, very painful. Thanks to new technology, men are finding out just how painful it can be, and their cries of anguish are going viral.
Virtually all women find that giving birth hurts to some extent. According to one study, only about 1% of women experience no pain at all during labor, which means that 99% of women do feel the pain of giving birth. In one study from 1999, researchers asked 303 women who were pregnant for the first time about using epidurals, and found that 61% of women would either probably or definitely use an epidural, 29% hoped they wouldn’t need one, 7% said they definitely weren’t going to use one, and 3% didn’t care. Ultimately, 78% did use an epidural — nearly four out of five.
Fortunately, women are tough — Hispanic women especially. Researcher Ronald Melzack found that only about 25% of women giving birth for the first time, and just 11% of women giving birth again rated their labor as being excruciating. In fact, 9% of first time mothers and 24% of experienced mothers report low levels of pain during labor. According to a study published in the journal Anesthesiology in 2007, Hispanic women in labor are less likely than non-Hispanic white women to receive epidural analgesia. These differences remain after accounting for differences in insurance coverage, provider practice, and clinical characteristics.
Despite their machismo and bravado, though, men are not quite as tough, it seems. Last year, a Chinese hospital hooked about 100 men up to electrical currents to give them the chance to experience the pain of childbirth.
“It felt like my heart and lungs were being ripped apart,” said test subject Song Siling.
More recently, male vloggers have undergone labor simulators, and had similar results, which have gone viral. YouTube star Penn Holderness volunteered to be attached to a labor simulator for several minutes as a Mother’s Day present to his wife, with whom he has two children. The results, which naturally included a lot of screaming, have been viewed more than 1.7 million times.
BuzzFeed’s Try Guys also recently took on the challenge of labor simulation.
“It’s like a million ants and needles just crawling through my skin,” said one during the “mild pain” portion of the experience.
“How we experience pain is very personal and very relative. One person’s kidney stones could be as severe as another person’s childbirth,” Dr. Beth Darnall, a pain psychologist at Stanford University, explained to Men’s Health magazine. However, “I don’t think there’s an exact equivalent [for men] to pushing a human being out of your vagina.”