Parenting debate: Could a man cope with the pain of labour?

Father Hood experiences the pain of labour
Father Hood experiences the pain of labour

Good afternoon and welcome to Father Hood’s big parenting debate. It’s a little like a pub debate, only instead of considering whether Messi is a better footballer than Ronaldo or trying to agree on the best box set ever (The Wire, no contest), I’m endeavouring to answer one of parenting’s biggest talking points. Namely: could a man cope with the pain of labour?

The current thinking

In general, there are three schools of thought when people enter a discussion about a man’s ability to cope with the pain of labour.

  • There’s the obvious, and most likely correct, answer, which states that men could never comprehend, or cope with, the outrageous levels of discomfort that rush through your body when you’re trying to push a human being out of an extremely small orifice.
  • There’s the standard male bravado answer, which states that we’d sail through it with ease, as it can’t be worse than a kick in the testicles.
  • And then there’s the boring, but seemingly logical answer, which states that men can’t give birth, so there’s no point in wasting our time and breath discussing something that is physically impossible to prove.

The Labour Pain Experience

Well, I’ve got news for anyone who nails their colours to the third argument mast. And that news is: thanks to the glories of technology, men can now experience the pain of labour.

I’m serious. In a bid to help men empathise with their partner, the Ultra Sound Baby Face scan clinic in Bristol has begun offering a ‘Labour Pain Experience’, which begins with dads attempting various tasks while wearing a weighted baby bump, and ends with dads being zapped with mild electrical currents that simulate the contractions women feel during the early stages of labour.

Wow, that sounds fascinating. If only there was an intrepid father brave and/or stupid enough to go down to Bristol and put this simulator to the test. Good news, folks. There is, and, as you can see from this video, his name is, well, me.

Father Hood vs Labour Pain Simulator

Blimey, that was intense. I’m sure you have plenty of questions, and hopefully they will be answered by the following summary (note: if they aren’t, please query away in the comments section). Yes, it seems like I have quite a high pain threshold. No, I do not believe that I could cope with the pain of labour. I say this because, a) the agony I endured didn’t last very long in comparison with a full-blown labour (7 minutes vs numerous hours) and b) the discomfort I experienced was roughly 1/10th as painful as giving birth.

Given this, my only possible conclusions from this experiment are:

  1. I would be screaming for an epidural within the first couple of centimetres of dilation.
  2. Women are amazing.

Right, that’s it. Debate over. I’m off for a well-earned rest and a glass of something alcoholic.

Until next time…

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