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Epidural? Nope. How About Virtual Reality Instead

Doctors make virtual reality part of the birth plan to ease labor and delivery.


I keep hearing about all of these use cases for virtual reality and I have to be honest, they’re really kind of meh. Sure, VR/AR can make plant floor workers more efficient or boost training, but it’s almost like we’re still looking for a problem to showcase the power of what’s possible.

But here’s an interesting experiment in the merits of VR: using it as a means for pain management during labor and delivery. Yup, you heard me right. An OBGYN at a New York hospital oversaw what is believed to be the first childbirth that used VR as a coping method for labor pains.

The patient was given a Samsung Gear VR, one of the newer consumer VR models, which was pre-programmed with a relaxing beach vista, complete with soothing music, a crackling fire, waterfalls and birds singing. The scene took the form of a guided meditation experience, including a coach, which would chime in occasionally to get the patient to focus on breathing techniques and even provided instruction when it was time to push.

The physician says the VR experiment provided enough distraction to relax the mother and guide her through the experience without focusing on the pain.

All I can say is wow. I’d take VR any day over the big scary epidural needle or a drug-free birth, and I’m willing to bet many mamas-to-be would happily do so as well.

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