Humanized childbirth using VR
Updated: Jan 25
Women in labor may have to endure many hours until the baby arrives. It's a time for stress, anxiety, and tiredness. When the delivery time finally comes, she exhausts herself giving birth. Virtual reality can help time when women need to relax, to save energy for the big moment.
According to The Medical Futurist, the patience Erin Martucci (2016) did not expect to be among the first women to experience VR during childbirth, she just wanted to deliver her daughter without epidural, narcotics, or any other pain medication. In short, her doctor, Ralph Anderson, introduced her to a VR scenario: a relaxing beach scene and relaxing audio with breathing instructions. All of it helped her through the most difficult parts of labor.
When she wore the device, the goggles immersed her into the sunny beach scene with pleasing blue ocean waves, with a calm voice coaching her breathing. She completely lost her sense of time, and only heard, “You are ready to push,” after which Dr. Anderson took the device off.
Since then, the technique has gained momentum and been the subject of further scientific research. One of the most recently explored the statistical benefit of using VR to reduce pain in labor (L&D).
The application of VR also extends to other moments of a woman's pregnancy, as it reduces her anxiety during infusions, fertility procedures, in the emergency room, and also at home; these being indicated for some women occur risk during the pregnancy and who were prescribed to rest.
While the application of Virtual Reality during childbirth is still niche, any investment in this technology has a clear future. It will help bring tranquility in times of stress, fear, and anxiety.
Erin Martucci and her daughter(2016). Source: https://www.theguardian.com/ The Medical Futurist website. Edition 10 March 2020