The power of the birth comb - How a comb saved me during labour


Yes, I know how absurd this caption must sound to you,

You are probably reading this and wondering “What does she even mean?” But this simple non-medical pain relief is actually one of the oldest labour hacks ever!

When I was pregnant with my first baby Eliah and preparing everything for my home birth, I knew one thing for sure: I didn’t want any medical pain relief! 

So I borrowed a TENS-machine from a friend (which I never used), got a tuning fork, tons of essential oils, a birth pool, did a hypno-birthing course and seriously thought I’m fine and dandy!

Boy oh boy, was I naive! 

When my labour started in the late morning, the contractions were super manageable for a really long time, they were extremely regular -  literally from the start no more than 5-8 minutes apart and I was happy and excited to soon be meeting my precious newborn baby boy.

As the sun set and the pain during labour started to really pick up, it dawned on me - no tuning fork could ever distract me from the intensity of my contractions!

It got worse and worse, I could literally not even focus on my breath anymore and was just dreaming of beaming myself to the hospital for an epidural!

And when I though I can’t bear one more second of this, my doula whipped two combs out of her bag and told me to hold on to them.

Everyone who’s ever been in labour knows that the brain completely shuts off during birth so I just did what I was told without even questioning the absurdity of holding to combs while sitting in an inflatable pool in the middle of my dining room.

Slowly my brain started working again and I realised why - the intense pain I had felt just moments before had significantly decreased and I was able to talk and think again!

I will never be able to thank my doula enough for thinking of this simple, yet effective labour hack in the moment I needed it the most! 

How it works?

When gripped tightly, the comb hits certain pain-relieving acupressure points in your hand.

It also works under the gate control theory of pain - the sensation of the comb pressing into your hand distracts you from the contractions you’re having and makes them feel less intense. 

The brain can only focus on a select number of sensations and because the distance between hands and brain is closer than between womb and brain, the sensation from the hands arrive quicker in the brain.

For best results, have the comb press into your hands at the base of the fingers.

It’s such a simple technique and because I really do believe that this birth comb hack can help many labouring women with managing the intensity of their contractions, I’ve decided to upgrade our pregnancy and birth hamper gift box by adding a free wooden birth comb to it!

I would love to know your experiences with the birth comb and other non-medical pain relief techniques you’ve used during your labour!

Let me know in the comments what worked for you, what you wished you had on hand, and what was a complete waste of money for you!


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