CHILDBIRTH is to be made longer and more painful amid fresh claims it has been 'dumbed-down' to meet Government targets.
Alan Johnson, the health secretary, said the length of labour would be increased to eight hours, from the current five, and that midwives would jab women on the thighs with knitting needles for the last 30 minutes.
He said the new regime would deliver longer cigarette breaks for doctors and nurses and help breed a new generation of super-tough mothers with 'vaginas of steel'.
Under the new guidelines all women will have to deliver their babies in birthing pools, which experts said worked in exactly the same way as modern pain-relieving drugs, except they did not relieve pain.
Mr Johnson said: "In the last hundred years there have been enormous advances in medical technology. That's why we have decided to force pregnant women to sit in a glorified bucket for eight hours screaming their heads off like cavewomen and begging for drugs. It's only natural.
"Look at fish. They give birth in water all the time and you never hear any of them huffing and puffing and screaming 'don't you ever put that me in again you evil fucker' at their husbands. Our mums must learn to do the same.
"And if the birthing pool isn't sore enough we can always get the midwife to drop in a toaster."
Dr Wayne Hayes, head of psychology at the University of Dundee, said the Government's decision to make childbirth even more agonising obviously reflected an unconscious desire to punish women for having sex.
"You have to remember these people are not just sick, they're like the little girl in The Exorcist," he said.