Man Experiencing Labor

This was cool! Apparently this man thought that men had a higher pain threshold than women, so decided he could take labor. Using electrodes on the abdominal muscles, a doctor and a physiotherapist simulate contractions on him. Of course, with no uterine muscles, it’s not a precise thing… but it’s as close as any man can ever get! They tested the system on a mother of four, and she agreed it was similar to contractions, and then they put it on the man (a doctor). Quite interesting!

During the course of the “labor,” they go from mild, early labor contractions, about every 10 minutes; and as “labor” progresses, they crank it up, both in the strength of the contraction, as well as the duration, along with shortening the time between contractions. Along the way, the OB gives some “coping techniques” for the man to try.

See the outcome for yourself:

h/t to Birth at Home in Arizona

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12 Responses

  1. Ha ha, that is awesome! Even though it was simulated it gives me great delight for a man to say women win! Woo hoo!!!

  2. I shared this on my Facebook a couple of months ago. I had been sightly embarrassed for thinking the man in the video was a bit of hottie, but many of my FB friends concurred (I didn’t mention it when I posted the link–they brought it up!)–something about that ruffled up gray hair…

  3. When I watched this a few months ago, it made me uneasy. The same way it makes me uneasy to see a laboring woman confined to bed and not supported. I mean he had it so bad that we are laughing at him as he goes through “contractions”.

    Interesting concept, but flawed on just as many levels as westernized birth is.

    • That’s one of the insurmountable difficulties to overcome, in “man trying to be woman” experiments such as this one. I wonder how close something like this *can* be, with no naturally-occurring oxytocin from real labor, no *real* uterus to contract, etc. It seems that the physical differences between men and women would render many of the “comfort measures”… non-functional (?), if that’s the best term? Forcing a stomach cramp to fake uterine contractions just. can’t. work on some level, y’know? How much of the “comfort measures” are comforting due to the feminine nature of labor, that a man simply can’t partake of? Would distraction work regardless of any type or cause of pain? Or only for labor? Would effleurage, massage, other forms of touch help during these fake abdominal cramps? Not sure. Definitely interesting!

      • Of course you can’t reproduce the experience of a woman in labor–he has no fear for himself or his baby, he’s in complete control of when it stops–but pain is pain and this guy has just learned something you can’t get from watching someone else go through it.

  4. Distraction should work regardless of any type of pain. If distraction works for you. The thing here is that he can stop at any time whereas laboring women cannot. He never looked like he was in labor. He didn’t sweat. I imagine his endorphins would increase with any kind of continuous pain. It was interesting.

  5. Very, very interesting!!

  6. What he needs to be looking at is a picture of his twins. “If you want them, carry on.” That’s what keeps you going for 12, 24, 36, 48 hours in labor . . . that and the fact that you can’t get out of it. 😉

    I’m not laughing at him, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being amused. After all, he can stop whenever he wants. I think it’s great that he was willing to run the experiment.

  7. I thought that was incredibly ‘cute’. I didn’t have a problem chuckling or smiling because he was keeping it all in good humor as well, acknowledging it wasn’t ‘real’ labor and that he could stop at any time. I’m a chronic pain sufferer and, on top of that, had horrendous period pains in high school. The contractions of labor, even at their peak, never got as bad as my old period cramps, and never rated more than about a 5 on my pain scale. My back labor, however, was very extreme (although thankfully short lived, maybe for a total of 1 hr out of 24 hrs of labor). I’d like to see him (any man) run this stimulated test with not only his adominal muscel’s involved, but his back muscels as well. My back cramped and seized from shoulders to buttock. I don’t think very many of them would make it to the 3rd contraction! On a side note, I wonder if giving a man pit would make his adominal muscles (all his muscles?) cramp? Anyone know what pit does to a man?

    • Serendipitously, I read this article just this morning!

      Pitocin is synthetic oxytocin (scientists can’t tell a difference, but the body can — real oxytocin passes the blood-brain barrier [contributing to the fuzzy la-la-labor-land feelings], while Pitocin does not). Oxytocin is present in the woman’s body during labor, as well as during orgasm and breastfeeding, contributing to and/or causing each; and it is the “bonding” hormone. It is also responsible for the after-birth pains many women feel, particularly while breastfeeding, as the uterus contracts back to its pre-pregnancy size and state.

      I don’t think by itself it causes bodily muscle contractions — it may be that the uterus has special receptors to make it work, or perhaps it causes contractions on the type of muscle that the uterus is made up of, which would be different from the abdominal muscles.

      However, I’m made to think that sometimes Pitocin does not cause contractions — there are numerous stories of women whose inductions failed, and they never started contracting, even with high doses of Pitocin; or high doses of Pit only made slight contractions. (Part of that is undoubtedly due to the differences in people — like some people can take half a tablet of a sleeping pill and be knocked out for a day, while others can take 2-3 and barely be affected.) So, it’s not a simple matter of 2+2=4; and I think the woman’s body has to be prepped for labor (naturally or artificially) before Pit will cause contractions.

  8. i had three babies in my life and in active labor with baby number 4 a girl named sienna.i had twin boys 11 months ago all natrual childbirth labor 15 hours first vaginal birth and pushed two hours straight. i had twin boys brett and cameron.my first birth was c-section with my daughter savannah.giving birth hurts especialy those contractions.i had fourth baby this birth was great .my labor 5 hours and only pushed for 10 minutes she was out.my husband told me push .i grunted then she came out.

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