On the list of the most physically challenging and excruciating experiences a woman can have, pain during giving birth is highly likely to be among the top. That’s why women seek out various ways to manage labor pain. You might be surprised to discover a pain-relieving technique that involves a common object found in every home. Yes, a simple hair comb can provide some pain relief for pregnant women in labor. Strange as it may sound, but it’s true.
How does holding comb in labor help you manage pain? Even though we don’t know yet if one can use comb in hand to induce labor, holding comb in labor can definitely help to reduce the labor pains.
Many women who have tried it have found that gripping a comb in their hands during labor distracts them from contractions. Read on to know about comb trick during labor.
What Is Acupressure?
Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique for relieving pain. It involves applying pressure and stimulation to specific areas of the body using hands, fingers, elbows, or other tools. These drug-free techniques are used during pregnancy by many women to deal with nausea, headaches, and lower back pain. Many women use these methods to help ease labor pains as well.
Acupressure works by applying firm pressure to specific areas of the body using fingers, thumbs, knuckles, or other tools, rather than by using needles. It is an alternative to acupuncture, but it does not use needles. Acupressure treatment can be performed by anyone, including a midwife in an out-of-hospital birth setting, unlike acupuncture, which must be performed by a licensed provider.
Related Reading: 7 Home Remedies For Headache During Pregnancy
According to this theory, hitting the pressure points in the body triggers the release of brain chemicals such as endorphins, which help block pain signals. Acupressure originated in China and dates back thousands of years.
Acupuncture, however, is unlikely to cause ripening of the cervical cartilage or to induce labor, even though it may decrease labor pain and duration1. Compared to people who were given fake or sham acupressure, people receiving acupressure reported less intense pain, shorter labor, and less anxiety2.
Thus, holding a hair comb can help you manage labor pain as it might stimulate pressure points.
What Is A Birth Comb?
There are no such specific combs to use as birth combs. Any comb will do, though some plastic combs can be quite sharp and cause some skin trauma if squeezed over a long period of time. Some companies present specific wooden combs that will not cause skin trauma as birth combs.
However, any comb that is compact and lightweight and fits snugly in your hand can be used as birth combs. The best combs for labor are the ones that hits the base of your fingers, across from your palm.
Related Reading: False Labor Pains- 8 Ways To Know This Is Not Real Pain
How Do You Use A Birthing Comb?
Our panel gynaecologist Dr Ankita Patel Tayal often advises her pregnant patients to use this technique during labour pains. Here is how she recommends you should do it. Hold the comb in the palm of the hand and firmly press the teeth at the joint between your fingers and your palm. Acupressure points are therefore stimulated by the comb’s teeth. The points are located along the creases where the fingers meet the palm. When you apply pressure to acupressure points, your body releases endorphins. You might want to consider using a birth comb when you are experiencing greater labor sensations that require your full attention.
Does Holding A Comb Help With Labor Pains?
There are various theories regarding how holding the comb eases labor pain. Some of the theories behind the concept of a comb that can be used during labor include:
- Reflexology: Across the palm of the hand, towards the base of the fingers are the points corresponding to the uterus. These points may assist in the progression of labor when stimulated. The fact is that women in labor tend to stimulate the points subconsciously without being aware that they are doing so. Often, they hold their partners’ hands or grip the bedrails, pull on the rebozo, or clasp the bedding. All of these actions appear to relieve pain since they stimulate the key reflex points. It may be possible to do this by intentionally using combs in the appropriate way.
- Offering distraction from pain: According to one theory, holding a comb is just a way to distract the mother from pain
- The comb can help hit acupuncture points: According to another theory, when held tightly, the teeth of the comb hit acupressure points at the base of the finger. When this happens, pain can be effectively abated
- Gate control pain theory: According to this theory, the brain is capable of focusing on only a few sensations at once. Due to the closer proximity of your nerve endings on your hands, they reach your brain faster. By focusing on these sensations first, the brain will be able to temporarily overlook contractions
Related Reading: 7 Safe And Natural Ways To Speed Up Labor
Note: Please note that you won’t need the comb until active labor. You’ve got to wait until your contractions become strong enough. Wait until it turns so strong that you can’t take away the focus from the pain. Use the comb at this point.
Is There Anything Else That Can Help With Pain Management During Labor?
The use of breathing techniques can provide distractions during labor and reduce pain sensations. Position changes and walking around during labor can also help with reducing the pain. Here are some other natural ways to alleviate labor pain during pregnancy:
- Moving to a new position
- Listening to music
- Applying counterpressure or massage
- Take a bath or shower
Alternative methods are available to women who want to avoid an epidural to manage labor pain. However, you’ve probably never heard that squeezing a comb in your hand will help alleviate labor pain. It is found that it quickly relieves labor pain. Women will benefit from this simple method of easing the pain when they go into labor. Holding the comb to relieve pain is so popular that women getting tattoos also use it as a pain reliever.