Women giving birth at the hospital are being offered a new form of pain relief – squeezing a hair comb.
Surrey and Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust’s maternity department posted details of the ‘birth comb’ on its Instagram page.
It advises expectant mothers: “Holding a comb in the palm of your hand during labor can help you cope with contractions or surges.”
The post goes on to say: “There are acupressure points which lie in the crease of your palm.
“When the comb is tightly gripped in the palm of your hand, this pressure distracts your brain and supports the body to release endorphins (feel-good hormones).”
But the advice – first posted six days ago – hasn’t gone down well with everyone, with some users questioning the need for it.
One said: “Why don’t we just give birthing people adequate pain relief… there’s an idea.”
Another added: “On behalf of me and the PTSD that I still have from the lack of pain relief, kindly shove the comb.”
Others claimed squeezing a comb proved to be useful to distract from the pain while in labor.
One said: “I did not believe a comb could help me through contractions… but to my surprise… it really did. Of course, along with the help of the amazing midwives, too.”
A second said: “I’d have been lost without my combs. I just used cheap plastic ones from Boots and they did the job just fine. Definitely recommend this to all my mama to be friends.”
The trust says that the idea is based on the ‘Pain Gate Control Theory’ which says the brain can only focus on a certain number of sensations at one time.
Their advice read: “The nerve endings in your hands are close to the skin’s surface therefore the pressure signals they send to the brain can override the pain signals being sent to your brain from contractions or surges.”
The trust says that it is part of its support for individualized and personalized approaches to labor for families, ensuring all women’s preferences are supported.
It said: “There are lots of different pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to pain relief in labor and this has been described as a distraction technique rather than a method of pain relief.
“We are sure this is not for everyone and different things will work at different stages of labour but this is a technique we have been asked about and keen to share what local families have been telling us.”
It says the Instagram post was shared as information to facilitate choice and personalization in early labor and how women can make choices and seek control without intervention.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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