New Program Has Expectant Fathers Experience Labour Pains

"My wife is expecting a baby in three months, and we had a row when I told [her] not to make such a fuss.  When she found out about this project, she told me had to sign up for it, so I also know what is was all about.  I must admit I was curious and if what I experienced is really what she goes through, then I have to say I have changed my attitude.  It was really incredibly painful and I only had it for a few minutes.  If it went on for hours I don't know if I'd be able to bear it."    Guang Liao in a media interview.

For 29-year-old prospective father, Guang Liao, it was a way of learning firsthand what his wife was going through as she prepared for childbirth.  He also admitted to having a fight with his wife after he told her to "not make such  a fuss" about her impending delivery.   Guang, along with dozens of other male volunteers, agreed to take part in a"Pain Experience Camp" being conducted at several hospitals across China.   Using electric shocks sent into the abdomens of the male volunteers, the volunteers underwent a simulation of what women experienced as they were giving birth.   The shocks induce abdominal contractions that the volunteers often described as "torture" even though the simulated pain is only intended to last thirty seconds.  

Last Mother's Day, twenty volunteers took part in a televised experiment in which they were hooked up to a "Pain-O-Meter" with levels ranging from 50 to 500 as the shocks became more intense.  Many of them had their pregnant wives sitting beside them (with a certain amount of glee) and were visibly reluctant to take part.   Though  most stopped after only a few minutes, only one participant made it to the highest pain level    He said afterward, ""I am the father of triplets and wanted to understand the great pain my wife experienced when she was giving birth," he said. "It was horrible. I have nothing but deep admiration for all mothers after this ordeal."

The idea for the simulated labour project apparently came from a Dutch television program last year during  which two male television show hosts agreed to experience labour pains for themselves.   After having electrodes strapped to their abdomens, they underwent contractions for two hours which they later described as "torture."   Not surprisingly, the television hosts, much like the men participating in the new "Pain Experience Camps" all reported greater sympathy for women giving birth. 



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