Can VR Help Women Deal With Labor Pain?

I'd try anything!

August 12, 2019

There was a time when I would write an article about labor and all the pain that comes with it, but I would just talk about what I heard from other people. Now I know what that pain is like so I feel like I can shed some light on this topic.

If you've ever given birth and gone into labor, you know it hurts like nothing you've ever felt before. In the end, though, it all worth it when you see that tiny human. I was so afraid of giving birth. When I went to my first appointment with my OBGYN, I remember asking her straight out if I could just have a c-section. As the pregnancy progressed, I would end up seeing videos and going to the birth class to learn more about what I would be experiencing. Even though I had the knowledge I was still scared out of my mind. 

The day that I was getting induced I woke up in the hospital crying because I was so worried that my body wouldn't be able to do it. But alas, I did it and I am here to tell the story. 

Before having a baby, I had experienced a level ten of pain or so I thought. Needless to say, that whole experience changed my entire pain scale. 

Some women go natural and have no medications to help with the pain. Others, like me, opt for pain medication during labor and an epidural to help take the edge off. Those were lifesavers for me. As things progressed though, even the pain meds and epidural didn't block out all of the pain and pressure I was feeling. 

So what's a new option for mothers in labor? According to a new study, virtual reality also known as VR is being used to help women deal with the pain. It's “being used during medical procedures and has been shown to be a valid, non-pharmacologic method to treat pain and anxiety,” according to a report published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. I know I saw a news story locally about Atrium using VR to help distract young patients at Levine Children's Hospital. 

The study found that using VR can actually decrease the use of IV pain medication during birth. It can help ease the anxiety and pain and make the overall experience more positive. 

Do you think VR could have helped you when you were laboring with your children or child? You can read more about the study below.