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RandomMrAdam's avatar

How can child birth be compared accurately to something guys can understand?

Asked by RandomMrAdam (1655points) June 25th, 2009

I was talking at work with a co-worker and he said that he heard that giving child birth was equally as painful as losing a leg… I say that is a bit drastic but just wanted to see what the fluther community has to say. Also, being ‘kicked in the nuts’ isn’t an answer I am looking for as women can not experience that as men cannot experience child birth, so lets keep it to things that both men and women can experience.

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58 Answers

cookieman's avatar

Don’t know, but I’m dying to find out…so I can avoid it.

whatthefluther's avatar

Well Sherry says its probably much like trying to piss out a volleyball through your penis.

Lupin's avatar

I was there when my better half delivered. With all the “hooting” and “houting” and grunting, I’d say it was at least as painful as having the TV remote pulled from my hand.
I just heard a collective shudder from the guys.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

A double hernia comes to mind. Or like a comedian once said, it’s like pulling your lower lip up over your forehead.

Bri_L's avatar

A woman I know compared it to a migraine. A true migraine not just a bad headache.

chupacabra's avatar

I have heard it described as “having your nuts slowly racked down your leg and across the floor with a fork.”

suzyq2463's avatar

Passing a kidney stone has been compared to childbirth pain, but I fail to see how something the size of a grain of sand compares to the head and shoulders of a baby, sorry. I gave birth without painkillers (not by choice, the anesthesiologist was too late), and I’m not sure anything compares to that pain. It wasn’t so much the baby passing through the birth canal as it was the sheer force of the contractions—nothing compares to that.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

I imagine that it’s like really bad constipation, gastric pain and someone repeatedly whacking your nuts with a baseball bat all occurring in the area directly below the stomach. Ah yes, and also try to imagine someone pulling apart your skin…

I’m cringing just from thinking about it

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@cprevite That was Bill Cosby quoting Carol Burnett.

SuperMouse's avatar

I have never lost a leg, passed a kidney stone, or had a migraine headache, but I have given birth and it hurts like h-e-double hockey sticks. @suzyq2463 I totally agree with you that people miss the point when they talk about the baby going through the birth canal, it is the contractions that are killer! Fortunately I have never experienced any pain that I would compare to contractions.

casheroo's avatar

I’ve had migraines, and I can sort of see the comparison because that pain can come in contractions….but the pain is NOT the same.
My father passed a kidney stone, which tore his kidney. He was in severe pain, for weeks. At least when you give birth, you feel an immense relief (vaginally) once the baby is out. If you tear, it can hurt for months though. You risk ripping your muscle from vagina to anus when you give birth. I can’t imagine a man ever doing such a thing.

I’ve heard it described this way by multiple people.

It feels as if someone is taking a knife, and stabbing you straight down the middle of your abdomin, slicing you all the way down. No position helps the pain. You try to fight it, which just makes it worse.
Thank god my drugs worked so I didn’t have to feel the pain of the baby actually coming out. Ive never felt that “ring of fire” and hope to never feel it.

cookieman's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic: I didn’t know that. And I love Carol Burnett.

sakura's avatar

I’m guessing a knee in the nuts may compare to the pain??

casheroo's avatar

@sakura No. I don’t care how painful men say that is. It is nothing compared to being pregnant for 9 months, and then pushing a baby out OR having major abdominal surgery.

cookieman's avatar

@casheroo: Perhaps having your nuts stood on by and average size adult for 9 months.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@sakura Yes, like casheroo said, I am trying to get something that does not refer to a feeling that we (men and women) cannot relate on. Women cannot endure the pain of getting kicked in the nuts just as men cannot endure child birth which is why I am trying to have women describe it in terms that both sexes can agree to.

Judi's avatar

Carol Burnett used to say, “Take your bottom lip and pull it over your head.”

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

Pro Bowl Punter Brian Moorman doing his best to make your balls touch the roof of your mouth.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I just asked my mother this question and she said that an approximate pain would be straining really hard to poop a baseball when you’re constipated. Ow.

Clair's avatar

@KatawaGrey A baseball? Try volleyball.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Clair: I asked my mom about that but by the time the vagina stretches out, a volleyball would probably fit out as easily as a baseball would through the inelastic anus.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

wow your family has weird conversations….....

Clair's avatar

@KatawaGrey But would it feel like it’s ‘fitting out?’ If you’ve ever had any abdominal pain, constipation or anything in your vagina, you know it ain’t out til it’s out. And the smaller, the better.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

guys guys guys… don’t ruin vagina’s for me here… I was hoping to at least push that inevitable event a little closer to my thirties…

KatawaGrey's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03: Sorry buddy. Avert your tender eyes!

@Clair: I think the point is that by the time a woman is actually giving birth, as in pushing the child out of the vagina, the vagina is 10 centimeters in diameter (or thereabouts). A volleyball would fit through a 10 centimeter hole better than a 1 centimeter (?) anus. Thus, the analogy of the baseball through the anus rather than the volleyball.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@lupin…gimme that remote & let’s just see.

Clair's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 oh, we haven’t even got to the fun stuff yet.
@KatawaGrey I get the point, we were just talking about how it ‘actually’ feels, not the technicalities.

applesaucemanny's avatar

muscle crams X 100?

Bri_L's avatar

My post was from a woman who had given birth and has migraines. I would never claim to know what the contractions were like. How could I. I am just repeating what a woman who had given birth, and has migraines which I have told me. That’s all.

Randy's avatar

@Clair You and Youtube, both, had a disclaimer and I still had to look. UGH….!

I decided it was time for me to come out in the middle of an ice storm and my mom was stuck at a friends house at the time. There was no attempting to get to the hospital so she birthed me on her friends couch with no pain killers of any kind. When I asked her about how bad it was, she would tell me it was like trying to shit a bowling ball from her vagina.

How she knows what that’s like… I’ll never WANT to know.

Clair's avatar

@Randy Wow! Yes, I think bowling ball is the best of the ball comparisons.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s the contractions, not the passing out of volume x through space y.

I can’t compare it to anything else. It is total. All of the middle of you is only pain, and a seizing, compressing, annihilating pain. But it doesn’t last, and it is worth it. I don’t see any purpose that is served by making others imagine it. Imagining is never going to be like experiencing.

Nially_Bob's avatar

@suzyq2463 I’m assuming that anaesthetist had to go into police custody for a while to protect him from you ;)
This is admittedly a bit of a ‘cop out’ and perhaps grossly inaccurate (given that i’m male) but I do not believe that the pain of child birth can be compared to anything. Not because of the intensity of the pain involved but due to the specifics of having a relatively large ‘object’ pushed through the inner abdomenal area of your body. Being “kicked in the balls” is similar in that nothing can (ahem) replace the feeling of considerable force being applied to the testicles.

autumn43's avatar

Maybe guys would understand this – picture what trying to pass a 19” TV out your bum would feel like. The afterbirth is pretty darn painful too – so that would be like passing the DVR with the remote pretty soon after without taking a breath.

Clair's avatar

@autumn43 Haha. Oh that’s great. I laughed out loud. GA.

Nially_Bob's avatar

@autumn43 Please tell me the batteries aren’t included : /

btko's avatar

A co-worker told me it felt like “taking a huge dump”.

sakura's avatar

But both men and women can’t experience the same thresh hold of pain?? us women being the superior species when it comes to tolerance of pain!!! I don’t think they will ever agree on a comparison. I must be realy lucky because I slept through my labour, woke up wanting to push and after 5 or 6 my daughter appeared!! no jokes about baggy bits please!

casheroo's avatar

Okay, the whole constipation part…that only happens when the baby has dropped. You all of a sudden feel like you have to take a crap. Like, literally. I remember telling the nurse I had to poop, she told me “no that means it’s time to push” in my mind, I still felt like I had to poop, and if I pooped on her, that was her fault. note: I did not poop, it was in fact a baby.
That part isn’t bad though. It’s more the emotions going through your mind of “Oh my god, I’m about to push a baby out of me!” that have you preoccupied.
And @Jeruba is correct. It is definitely the contractions that hurt the most. But, once the baby is out, it’s such a relief on your body. Really an amazing feeling.

Supacase's avatar

I can’t think of anything that can compare. It isn’t just physical pain, there are also a lot of emotions (excitement, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, embarrassment) involved in the process.

My contractions were one right on top of the other for a very long time; that pain was enough to make everything around me seem out of focus, both mentally and physically. It felt like I was drowning in a pit of agony. Let’s not forget the intense pressure, the stretching of skin, the exhaustion, the inability to have a drink of water, and, of course, the ripping apart of your nether regions, either.

Then there is this sudden relief that is a blessing from all that is good and holy. That pressure is gone, your everlasting aerobic workout is over, you can move your cramped legs into a new position, you can have a drink of water. Combine that with the extreme joy of hearing, seeing and holding your baby and you have something that simply cannot be described.

So, yes, there is probably some level of pain that is comparable – but there is nothing men can experience that can equal the experience of childbirth.

cak's avatar

I don’t know. When my daughter was born, I had been in the hospital for 3 days, in labor. It wasn’t until 10 o’clock the third night when the doctors finally said c-section. I wasn’t progressing, I didn’t dilate far enough. However, I did have the complete joy (read sarcasm) of the contractions and major back pain. I was having very severe back labor.

Truly, the contractions start like cramps, but good gravy do they get painful! I can’t answer about full labor, just contractions and all the issues that surrounded my daughter’s birth. I will say this about a c-section. Being awake – epidural only, you are very aware of the tugging, pulling and manipulation that is done to deliver the baby and to put everything back in place. AND…the pain after the c-section, sucks, big time!

I’ve heard several times the kidney stone comparison. I’ve passed stones before, they are very painful. I still think it’s a different kind of pain, though.

jca's avatar

i always describe it as the shitting out a watermelon. i definitely felt it in my ass, really like i was taking a giant shit. i just felt a lot of pressure from inside but in my ass, believe it or not. you do have a break between contractions, though.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Since I’ve actually had the displeasure of having a kidney stone, I’m a fairly credible source on the extreme amount of discomfort and pain that one can go through when experiencing this. A feeling of being repeatedly stabbed in the kidney is an accurate description. The ER nurse actually said to me, “This is the closest you will ever get to giving birth as a man.”

I readily concede that it is not the same as compared to pushing a human being out of a small canal but the pain levels could be close. I was told by my doctor to urinate into a strainer to catch the kidney stone to make sure that I had passed it. Although it was very small when I finally got a look at it, it was a very jagged object that spent the better part of a day ripping and slicing through my kidney tissue until I finally peed it out. A horrible experience. And I have the ultimate respect for women for what they have to endure in the process of childbirth.

madcapper's avatar

watching an entire episode of the View?

Garebo's avatar

I would think it would be equivalent to a man exuding a cantaloupe.from an unintended orfice.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have given birth to two, each time was in labor for a looong time before the epidural and turned off epidural for the pushing – I don’t remember the pain, though at the time I know it was the worst ever

However, I don’t think this is the greatest pain one can experience and I think plenty of people with penises have experience worse pain than childbirth

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I heard that giving birth is less painful than large kidney stones. They are often smashed with sound waves and the fragments must be passed in urine. Both men and women would experience a pain greater than childbirth in this case.

Bri_L's avatar

I have heard that sever burn patients know greater pain than almost anything.

I don’t think anyone would ever try and take away from what a woman goes through when giving child birth. But I think that just as everyone has a different sense of humor, a different level of tolerance for spicy I think we all have a different tolerance for pain as well. Some women go through child birth with contractions and say it doesn’t compare to other experiences in their lives, ie kidney stones, migraines. Others say it can’t compare.

Even that doesn’t make one more or less able to tolerate pain because even then the circumstances are different. It can’t be apples to apples unless you are able to transpose the pain you felt to another person.

elijah's avatar

Men- imagine an NHL player taking slapshots at the small of your back, while your skin is slowly splitting and tearing, and sweat is pouring down your face and you honestly think you can’t take another minute of torture. Now kick it up a notch for every hour of labor (about 10–12). Now you’re begging for it to end, and your stomach is being squeezed by the worlds largest vice grips. A freakin’ child is coming out of you!
Somehow your mind finds a way to block out the memories of pain and instead focus on the amazing new baby.

filmfann's avatar

Kidney Stones!
Been there, did that. The morphine didn’t help.

autumn43's avatar

One thing that is obvious – the mind and body are very forgiving. If women never had another child due to the pain of it all, the world would be a very lonely place.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

yes this is a great evolutionary mechanism
i, for one, as i said, don’t remember the pain
that coupled with how cute my offspring tends to be are the reasons why i can even consider having more

Dr_C's avatar

@filmfann has a valid point. Kidney stones are experienced differently by men and women specifically due to the lenghth of the urethra… a longer urethra makes for longer transit time and more pain experienced due to injury caused while passing the stones.
(It has been described by many physicians… some of them women as the worst possible pain one can experience.. equal or greater to that experienced during child-birth).

Another comparable pain is torsion of the vas deferens…. testicular torsion involves both blood vessels and verve bundles creating such exquisite pain as to alter one’s state of consciousness. (been there done that)

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i can only imagine that it would be like pissing out a basketball.

edit: didn’t realize something quite similar was already posted :p

Lupin's avatar

My wife was just in the emergency room suffering from severe lower back pain with spasms. She said it is every bit as painful as childbirth.

galileogirl's avatar

As far as intensity goes. I’ve had 2 things that matched childbirth, acute pancreatitis and a burst gall bladder. The main difference was when having a baby you know what’s going on and everyone is calm (the med staff anyway), With the other 2 not only was there a lot of pain, I didn’t know what was going on but there was a lot of tension and people running around which is a little scary.

zen_'s avatar

Root canal in the anus.

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