Green Room

Can men handle the pain of child birth?

posted at 11:22 am on May 15, 2013 by

I know Mother’s Day was last weekend but this is just too good not to post. If there is one thing women do not exaggerate about, it’s the pain of child birth. The video below shows two men voluntarily allowing a doctor to simulate labor pain through electrocution as their wives sit back and watch. It’s hilarious.

“Don’t talk to me right now!”

“I’m sorry, you’re like a superhero.”

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Carol Burnett described childbirth like this: “Take your bottom lip, pull it over the top of your head, and that’s what labor pain feels like.” I don’t recall if that’s the exact quote, but I do recall hearing her say that on her show during the question-and-answer segment she’d do occasionally.

There’s no way you can really tell what someone else’s pain feels like, just like you don’t know if the “blue” you see is the same “blue” someone else sees. This is just a funny stunt, like guys getting voluntarily Tasered.

Marcola on May 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Funny…my Mom always said women did exaggerate the pain of childbirth. Of course, after 10 I guess it wouldn’t be a big deal 🙂

changer1701 on May 15, 2013 at 11:35 AM

A woman told me that kidney stones are worse than childbirth.

Had mine by C-section.

jdpaz on May 15, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Every person has a different pain threshold.

portlandon on May 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM

If there is one thing women do not exaggerate about, it’s the pain of child birth.

I’ll respond to this in the best way I know, by calling back the ghost of my sainted father (GP/OBGYN/General Surgeon). Though precluded from being a mother by genetics, he delivered some 2,300 kids in the small community where he practiced.

When confronted by an expectant mom, who was telling him that there was no pain worse than childbirth, he had the temerity to school her.

“I can tell you that you’re wrong about birthing pain. There is pain that is far worse”.

The mom was incensed and came right back at him, “That’s not true! How can you say that? You’re not a woman. You’re a man so there’s no way for you to judge OUR pain!”

“Kidney stones. Kidney stone pain is worse than childbirth”, stated my father quietly.

Still incensed, the lady stated that there was no way to compare the two, and that a man could never know women’s pain.

“You are correct, to a point. However, I’ve had many women that have given birth, and have had kidney stone attacks as well. Your sisters tell me that kidney stone pain is worse than childbirth, and I have to accept their judgement”. I imagine this was done with a bit of a twinkle in his eye.

The part that he truly relished, is that this patient would not even talk to him for the next five years. I miss him, but the exchange lives on.

corbeck on May 15, 2013 at 11:50 AM

My colon ruptured, causing acute peritonitis.

The morphine cocktail didn’t even dent it.

Not until I passed out and woke up with a colostomy did it not hurt so much.

Of course, then I had to deal with my gut sliced open from my sternum to my crotch…

If I had to relive that night, I’d take child birth.

catmman on May 15, 2013 at 11:51 AM

No fair teasing me about my Austrian S&M fantasies.

Seth Halpern on May 15, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Did not watch, but everyone has different levels of pain tolerance, male and female alike. Arguing that men could not tolerate the pain of childbirth is like arguing that women could not tolerate the pain of fill in something men are primarily the bearers of, such as battlefield wounds. Some can, some cannot. Many women do not tolerate the pain of childbirth, even when carrying a child. They opt for massive levels of pain killers and c-sections.

astonerii on May 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Can men handle the pain of child birth?

The only part of me that hurt was my hand, the smoking hot redhead has quite a grip.
Had a buddy who was told to wait in the pub next door while his son was being born. He did complain that his head hurt the next day but that was all.

LincolntheHun on May 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Every person is different, every childbirth experience is different, and every sensation of pain is different. To argue that there is one single pain that will always be the worst you can experience, or that it will always not be the worst you can experience, is ridiculous.

Kidney stone pain is definitely toward the top of the scale. I’ve experienced it personally. For me, in my own subjective judgment, it is clearly the worst pain I have ever experienced. But that’s me personally.

I’ve also witnessed my wife go through childbirth four times. Based on observation only, I would say that her first childbirth experience was far worse than my kidney stone pain and the other three were mildly less. But that is based on observation alone. She has never had a kidney stone, so she can’t compare the two, and I’ve obviously never given birth. And even if we had both done both, it would still be different for each of us.

Bottom line? This little “experiment” of theirs proves nothing much, and anyone who claims that they know for a fact what pain is the worst of all is wrong for anyone beyond themselves.

Shump on May 15, 2013 at 12:03 PM

After you’ve passed six kidney stones, come talk to me about childbirth.

My wife’s had four kids. She said the pain was quite manageable.

CurtZHP on May 15, 2013 at 12:06 PM

“hilarious” — KP

resentment much? abashed for you.

kunegetikos on May 15, 2013 at 12:08 PM

I have chronic kidney stones.

On my last visit to the ER (7.2mm stone), my nurse – as she was starting my IV drip – told me that she has given birth to triplets (natural-birth) and passed kidney stones. She believes the stones hurt worst. By a factor of 10.

Washington Nearsider on May 15, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I never considered myself having a particularly high pain threshold, but I had my first two kids without drugs and it wasn’t so bad. The third was an emergency c-section (delivered, not aborted, to save my life and his). I thought recovering from the nicked nerve caused by the epidural was more painful and certainly longer-lasting than birth pains had been. Hope never to have a kidney stone for comparison.

Quisp on May 15, 2013 at 12:23 PM

catmman on May 15, 2013 at 11:51 AM

My father would probably agree with you.

As to the kidney stone comparison: consider that the birth canal is designed to expand to let a child travel through it, a urethra is not.

GWB on May 15, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Got morphine injections during my first few kidney stone episodes. It didn’t make a dent in the pain. The last time in I told the nurse to not bother with the morphine and just bring the good stuff.

jdpaz on May 15, 2013 at 12:34 PM

On my last visit to the ER (7.2mm stone), my nurse – as she was starting my IV drip – told me that she has given birth to triplets (natural-birth) and passed kidney stones. She believes the stones hurt worst. By a factor of 10.

Backin’ this up. I went to the ER for a 3mm (first stone ever) and my doc had had twins and stones and she said she would take the twins over the stones any day.

I later passed a 4mm plus lithotrispy fragments with nothing but Aleve (opiates make me sick). While at work. And the guy in the next stall didn’t even know.

It hurts, but it ain’t gonna kill you. And, let’s face it, billions of ladies since man evolved into man have given birth successfully. It isn’t exactly, well, novel outside of the impact to the individuals involved. So spare us the moral superiority.

Spade on May 15, 2013 at 12:39 PM

I have a high tolerance for pain, so even though I have had three children, I don’t feel qualified to judge. One with medication, two without and while the one was definitely more pleasant, the others were fine.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 12:51 PM

catmman on May 15, 2013 at 11:51 AM

That’s terrible. At least with childbirth you usually get a kid that will give you more stories to tell. I hope you are fully recovered.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Again, a silly question, and a stupid experiment!

Female muscle and skeleton are designed differently – to handle childbirth. That is why they are better dancers, too.

OldEnglish on May 15, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Thanks, Cindy

Yeah, I’m much better now. It happened back in 2010. Only had the ostomy for three months, then another major surgery to repair my insides. Took me over a year to recover completely.

Now I have my grandson to make those stories your talking about! 🙂

catmman on May 15, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Every time a woman tries to tell me how it’s the worst pain imaginable and how a man could never understand blah blah blah, I ask her if she had a spinal block…chirp chirp.

ronsfi on May 15, 2013 at 1:21 PM

If men gave birth there would be a distance contest on who could shoot the kid out further.

On average yes men can handle pain better.

Dash on May 15, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Oh an also every one of these liberal pro choice NARAL type women would suddenly be hardcore pro lifers.

Dash on May 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM

If men gave birth there would be a distance contest on who could shoot the kid out further.

On average yes men can handle pain better.

Dash on May 15, 2013 at 1:23 PM

I worked as a zoo keeper when I was pregnant, and two coworkers were pregnant around the same time. It’s a very physical job, and we would all joke about what would be the “manliest” way to give birth. We all thought it would be manly to go off to the farthest exhibit, clean and feed it, squat to give birth, then bring the baby back in the empty feed bucket. All three of us started labor after work at home, though, so that didn’t happen. None of us missed any workdays until we went into labor though.

I had a c-section so I can’t make a comparison of childbirth pain with any other pain. When I blew out a disc in my back that was pretty bad though. Had to go the hospital for that one.

juliesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:57 PM

14 ribs, with one slashing a lung, scapula into three pieces, pelvis, 3 vertebrae, spleen burst, wicked internal bleeding from a variety of sources …

Childbirth? How long does the pain last? Hours? A few days? Weeks?


M240H on May 15, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Whilst in the hospital for kidney stones, I’ve had nurses and doctors tell me they’d rather give birth again instead of kidney stones.

I’m sure childbirth is painfull though.

Kinda messy too, so I think I’ll just leave that gig up to the ladies.

44Magnum on May 15, 2013 at 2:34 PM

I could handle it just fine. I’ll take an epidural like everybody else.

Xasprtr on May 15, 2013 at 2:43 PM

I just wonder how many women who say that childbirth is the most painful experience there is have ever taken a sharp blow to the testicles?

Which raises the question, ladies, which is more acutely painful, childbirth or getting poked in an ovary?

rokemronnie on May 15, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Why are women so insecure?

ClassicCon on May 15, 2013 at 2:54 PM

When a young woman is pregnant, all the old wives love telling her about their awful, painful, terrible, no good childbirth experiences. I decided that was not for me. Nor did I trust — or want — pain-killing medication of any kind from a doctor. I conditioned myself with Lamaze and felt nothing but pressure during the 5 hour labor (first baby), including when my tailbone broke on the baby’s journey past it. I told my husband it felt like a giant was walking on my back at that time, but there was no pain. It was only later I was told what had happened. I had an old doctor, and my 8-pounder and I were his first Lamaze patients. He said he’d delivered thousands of babies and he couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was to see somebody completely alert and painfree. The next day another woman in my class gave birth to a 9-pound baby and had the same painless experience. I feel bad when I hear of women experiencing painful childbirth. It is not necessary.

winfield on May 15, 2013 at 3:14 PM

juliesa on May 15, 2013 at 1:57 PM

I love the attitude! That’s how I’d approach it, sort of a “bring it” mentality 🙂

Dash on May 15, 2013 at 3:14 PM

OK, let’s reverse the experiment… someone kick Hillary in the nuts…

dpduq on May 15, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Passed a kidney stone while living in Java. What I remember is lying naked on the tile of the bathroom floor for the slight comfort of the coolness, and throwing up from the pain until I was vomiting blood.

Oh, and that I didn’t want to put clothes on when the taxi finally arrived (this was 2 or 3 AM so we had to find a service that could rouse someone), but that my wife was able to reason me into underwear and shorts, though I refused to zip and button them. I’m sure the taxi driver thought some albino zombie had crawled into his back seat.

Fun note: my very pregnant wife piled my other three kids on her lap in the front seat.

My condolences to those for whom morphine is not the answer. I have to say it made everything all better for me, instantaneously. One of the most remarkable physical sensations I’ve ever had.

TexasDan on May 15, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Women love to exaggerate the pain/difficulty of childbirth as some kind of sign of greater strength than men. A female friend of mine mentioned this to me the other day and I simply pointed out that women don’t have a choice. Being strong would mean that you had the choice of taking the pain or not, and women only get that choice in the form of medication, which they overwhelmingly take.

The only proof that women could take pain better than men would be if women chose to use painkillers less often than men under similar circumstances, and they don’t.

kaltes on May 15, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Err… How does she know she is delivering an appropriate amount of pain to simulate labor? How can this be quantitative?

It is funny, tho…

stvnscott on May 15, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Women put up with pain that would send a quarterback to the sidelines.

Your link to the video isn’t working, BTW.

sage0925 on May 15, 2013 at 7:50 PM

I’ve had diverticulitis, broken bones, kidney stones and three kids. Childbirth was by far the worst and lasted longer.

blackgriffin on May 16, 2013 at 11:55 AM

“Every time a woman tries to tell me how it’s the worst pain imaginable and how a man could never understand blah blah blah, I ask her if she had a spinal block…chirp chirp.”

You do realize that a women goes through most of the labor before they bother giving a spinal block, don’t you? It’s not the baby coming out that causes the agony, although that does hurt terribly. It’s the contractions that go on for HOURS, increasing in strength and length as they go, as well as occurring more frequently until they’re almost continuous, that causes the trauma. Labor is different from female to female, but it’s not something to be scoffed at, especially by a male.

blackgriffin on May 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

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