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#31 of 54 Old 09-07-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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That article's old, or at least the study is, I remember hearing that before my mom's liver transplant 5+ years ago (I was the donor, and we're both redheads). I also understood it that pain meds were less effective, not that redheads had a lower pain tolerance. I think I have a higher than average pain tolerance, and I had my last baby at home without any meds. I wouldn't worry (about that, at least)!

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#32 of 54 Old 09-07-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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I'm a redhead too. Heard a lot about the bleeding thing but never about the pain tolerance/ medication thing before.

I've had pretty bad dysmenorrhea since I was 12, but other than that always thought I had a pretty good pain tolerance. I've had the same trouble with dentists though - I can always feel quite a lot of what's being done and it's very unpleasant!

I had a horrible birth though - 20 hours or so of active labour, 14 of which were basically one never-ending contraction. Couldn't walk or talk at all. Still never even crossed my mind to ask for any pain-meds though. I had an episiotomy and forceps delivery without even a local anaesthetic (not by choice though..) But despite that I actually bled very little (so sucks to that theory at least!).

But my very painful birth was the result of a malpositioned baby - DD was both posterior and asynclitic. Don't think I found it painful because of the colour of my hair!

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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#33 of 54 Old 09-07-2009, 05:35 PM
 
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I'm a redhead (ginger, titian, what have you) too, and I have always heard that redheads have a significantly higher pain tolerance. I had ds at a fsbc, I was in active labor for just a bit over 5 hours, and pain meds never even occurred to me. First stage was a lot like menstrual cramps for me, and second stage was all about fetal ejection reflex, so I was just along for the ride on that one. The only time I yelled was when I was getting a shot of local to put a couple of stitches in a small tear (my poor lady bits had already been through enough, I thought)--didn't help that my midwife also brought up the fact that I'd had a couple of good doses of vit. c in the previous 24 hours, and vit. c has apparently been shown to interfere with the efficacy of local anaesthetic. I'm not much of a bleeder, either, and the only pain med I've ever taken that has any effect is Ibuprofen, narcotics just make me sick.

I'm thinking that that article was full of it, and that you will amaze yourself with your ability to handle birth.
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#34 of 54 Old 09-08-2009, 12:37 AM
 
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My friend who is VERY red-headed had a birth center birth w/ her first and wants to HB next time! No complaints from her. My hair is auburn, and I'm very fair skinned, and I think I have a pretty low pain tolerance. Natural birth was tough, but worth it. Hey, I'm doing it again!

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#35 of 54 Old 10-13-2009, 08:34 AM
 
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Bumping to chime in!

I'm also a red-redhead, had DD1 with 2 extra-strength Tylenol, no problem. I *did* have a lot of back labor, but lo and behold, she was fully posterior! Who knew? (At 30 weeks, DD2 is still posterior, but I'm not worried. 6 hrs active labor, 15 minutes pushing for the first one- I got this on lock!)

I'd say my pain threshold is freakishly high- I had a broken arm (shattered scaphoid, two other fractures) after a car wreck at 16, and went for 2 months without a cast bc I thought it was just sprained- nooooo, it was really very broken.

As a kid I was convinced I had leukemia bc I bruised for "no reason." As I grew I realized that I was indeed smacking the hell out of myself at all turns, but couldn't feel it.

Pain meds are also less effective and I need more drugs (be they narcotics or Benadryl quickly, as I build a fast tolerance.)

Good luck, OP, I'm sure you'll do fine regardless!

Doctors aren't out to kill you or your children. Childbirth isn't inherently safe. Science is actually smarter than your intuition. Lighten up. Use sunscreen.

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#36 of 54 Old 10-13-2009, 10:10 AM
 
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heh, i'm glad you bumped this thread, erinyay. it was fun to read it again.

hi evergreen, yep, a redhead too, fun!

i'm with the freakishly high pain tolerance group - i usually laugh when i'm in physical pain and rarely use pain meds, b/c they don't work anyway. took my husband a while to accept my scoffing at pain meds for labor.... but i haven't experienced it yet! i hope my scoffing won't backfire, heh.

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#37 of 54 Old 10-13-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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I'm a redhead, and I think I have a lower than average pain tolerance. I've fainted numerous times from pain that you wouldn't think would be that bad, really, but in every case it was sudden pain that couldn't be anticipated. I gave birth to my 9-lb son without drugs, and it wasn't really that bad. More than anything it was hard work. I have no fears about doing the same with my next baby.

Mama to DS1 (2/08) and DS2 (9/10).
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#38 of 54 Old 10-13-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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My best friend is a fair, freckled redhead and she has had two awesome natural births with no excessive bleeding.
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#39 of 54 Old 10-13-2009, 11:39 AM
 
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Don't be scared. Think of all the hundreds of generations of redheads who've birthed before drugs were an option.

Not a redhead, but definitely someone with a low tolerance. period cramps have always torn my world apart, even after having my first baby. my first labor was somewhere around 20 hours, and I was exhausted, scared, and loaded with adrenaline and anxiety when I greedily accepted an epidural. That decision may have numbed my birth, but afterwards, I was in SOOOOO much pain. I had searing back pain for about 3 months pp. Really not fun for a girl who doesn't like to hurt. And really not worth it, in retrospect.
With my second, I knew I did not want another epidural. I was planning on a birth center birth, but it did not happen like that. I did not realize I was in labor because my contractions were not coming in at regular intervals; they were a lot like pre-labor. Their intensity was also different than my first time, too. I was basing my pain on the first labor, and it never felt as strong. I did not recognize I was in labor until my husband went over our birthing literature, and said he thought I was in transition. Mentally, I did not comprehend pain the way I normally do. It was a completely otherworldly experience. I surrendered so completely to my labor, birth, and baby. I had never before in my life surrendered like that. Transition lasted about 10 mins. it was SOOOOOO fast, it wasn't fun, but it was tolerable and before we knew it, our baby was born... And, there was NO pain as he emerged. It was a beautiful feeling of release. In recovery, it has been so easy. I happily would recommend to anyone to brave labor w/o drugs. If I can... anyone can, and the rewards for how it feels afterwards is incredible. I never felt so strong.
In my mind, I thought a lot about the stories in Spiritual Midwifery. That culture of birthing really resonated with me.
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#40 of 54 Old 10-13-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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redhead here with a very low pain tolerance. Seriously, I'm a huge wimp when it comes to pain BUT I had a natural labor. IMHO the amount of pain you experience in labor is due to a lot of things, such as the position of your baby, your level of fear around giving birth, your support team, your hydration (list goes on), and your expectation of pain relief. A lot of women who want epidurals think that labor is excrutiating before they get pain relief. To me labor pains are different than pains from an injury, like stubbing your toe, or getting a charlie horse(to me the most painful thing EVER!) The pains come and go. They're not constant. I don't think anyone can predict which mamas can make it without drugs. I know some very tough mamas who got pain relief, and a surprising amount weaklings(such as myself) who didn't. It's not an iron man competition!
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#41 of 54 Old 10-13-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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My mother is a redhead and had 5 babes with no drugs, one in a hospital. Though she was born a blonde and it later turned red, so maybe she doesn't count.

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#42 of 54 Old 10-14-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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My strawberry blonde son seems to have the pain med thing.

At age 4, he had to get chin stitches. At the time, I thought the doctor at the urgent care clinic just didn't wait long enough for the lidocaine to kick in, because he felt everything.

And even so, at 4.5, he stayed perfectly still and let them finish the stitches.

Last month he was dx'd with Lyme, with fear that he had Lyme meningitis. SO he had to have a spinal tap. The ER doctor went through his whoel spiel about "after the shot, it might feel funny, but it won't hurt." And then it DID hurt: DS whimpered "It hurts, you're hurting me," and the doc said "Oh, buddy, you're just feeling the pressure," and DS said "NO! IT feels like BURNING pressure."

Again, he stayed perfectly still for the procedure, but it clearly hurt him.

Finally, he had to have a PICC Line put in, and finally, the nurse who did it figured itu out. After one shot of Lidocaine didn't do it at all, she gave him a second one. And blissfully, it finally took. "Some folks just need a bit more," she said. THANK GOODNESS. I'm just so sad for DS that it took two VERY painful procedures during which he was under-medicated to figure that out.

But: Note again that his pain tolerance, even as a little little boy, is higher than his peers. Pain tolerance and meds issues aren't the same thing.

savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#43 of 54 Old 10-14-2009, 09:55 AM
 
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I don't think I count as a redhead, although I had red hair at birth. Now it's really dark, with red highlights. But either way, I don't believe for a second that there is a single gene responsible for determining pain threshold. I'm not even entirely sure I believe in the concept of a pain threshold. A person's experience of discomfort is effected by so many things (exhaustion, emotional stability, support or lack thereof, fear, etc.) I don't think there it is as black and white as that.

That said, I do know several distinctly redheaded women who had AMAZING, pain-free Hypnobabies births, so maybe redheads need to consider Hypnobabies as their default birthing approach, rather than dealing with ineffective epidurals.
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#44 of 54 Old 10-14-2009, 10:50 AM
 
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i am a redhead, and I have Fibromyalgia. the fibro makes everything hurt more anyway. but i had a natural birth with my last child. it was awesome. a doula helped me to get far enough they couldnt give me anything anyway. i also had a quick labor. i drank RRL tea the last half of the 2nd tri and the whole 3rd tri and during labor. way easier than my first 2 which ended up with epis. youcan do it.

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#45 of 54 Old 10-14-2009, 10:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudonk View Post
That said, I do know several distinctly redheaded women who had AMAZING, pain-free Hypnobabies births, so maybe redheads need to consider Hypnobabies as their default birthing approach, rather than dealing with ineffective epidurals.
That's probably a great point. With 1, I apparently put myself into a trance the entire time; didn't speak, didn't communicate other than to whisper "vomit" when I needed to vomit (everyone cheered, I had no idea why bc I was so out of it, but yay transition!) Even my OB said it was "really creepy."

On one hand I'd like to be more present this time, but on the other, if it works, it works!

Doctors aren't out to kill you or your children. Childbirth isn't inherently safe. Science is actually smarter than your intuition. Lighten up. Use sunscreen.

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#46 of 54 Old 10-14-2009, 11:05 AM
 
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I am currently preg. with #5. I only had IV drugs with #2 because she was an induction (not entirely for the pain, long story). #3 was born so fast they didn't have time to give me an IV at all, and #4 was at home.
Look at all the pain relief techniques. Personally I grew up with traditional meditation, and learned yogic breathing as an adult, and that was enough for me.
My hair has gotten darker too. But only my husband and my midwife know that I AM a natural redhead.

Mom of 4 aspiring midwife "Friend"ly seeker
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#47 of 54 Old 10-14-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ErinYay View Post
That's probably a great point. With 1, I apparently put myself into a trance the entire time; didn't speak, didn't communicate other than to whisper "vomit" when I needed to vomit (everyone cheered, I had no idea why bc I was so out of it, but yay transition!) Even my OB said it was "really creepy."

On one hand I'd like to be more present this time, but on the other, if it works, it works!
If you want that level of focus and comfort while being "more present this time", then Hypnobabies is an excellent choice for you! The basis of it is "Eyes Open Childbirth Hypnosis" that allows women to create that deep level of self-hypnosis you experienced instantly using simple cues any time she wants it (like at the peak of a transition contraction), and also be able to remain relaxed and in hypnosis while moving easily, chatting and generally feeling completely "normal". That's why so many Hypnobabies women are treated like they're either not in their birthing time, or only just beginning it moments before their baby arrives. Their caregivers all think they're behaving too "normally" to really be making progress! My midwives almost sent me home without checking me because I was so calm and smiling when I arrived. They kindly told me that I was too happy to be in "real labor" and tried nicely to make me think that going back home was a good idea that I came up with on my own. I insisted on a check and it turned out I was fully dilated. They let me stay. In fact, Hypnobabies made it so easy for me to relax and focus that about 1/2 way through my birthing time, I actually spent a couple hours finishing our taxes while calling out to my husband every time I felt a birthing wave, so he could time them. The friends who were there were a little freaked out by the fact that we weren't acting all frantic, but there was definitely nothing about my behavior that was "creepy".

Most women who have particularly comfortable births find that at some point their relaxation sends them into a natural self-hypnotic state, whether that was their goal or not. Hypnosis does such a great job of releasing endorphins and increasing comfort, it makes sense that the body strives to achieve that during birth, if we allow it!
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#48 of 54 Old 10-14-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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If you want that level of focus and comfort while being "more present this time", then Hypnobabies is an excellent choice for you!
Thank you so much! I've been toying with Hypobabies- this clinches it! Thank you thank you!

Doctors aren't out to kill you or your children. Childbirth isn't inherently safe. Science is actually smarter than your intuition. Lighten up. Use sunscreen.

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#49 of 54 Old 10-15-2009, 03:35 AM
 
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My dentist claims there really is something to the redhead anesthesia not taking well. I prove it nearly every time I go. Ugh.

Labor? I have a very high pain tolerance. I know you can see in my siggy that I have had 2 c/s. However, I have been through plenty of laboring and all without meds. The first was Pit augmented and still no pain meds.

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#50 of 54 Old 10-15-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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Thank you so much! I've been toying with Hypobabies- this clinches it! Thank you thank you!
Excellent, I can't wait to hear all about it!
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#51 of 54 Old 10-15-2009, 01:02 PM
 
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DEFINITELY!!! i have red hair and a much higher pain tolerance than most people i know!!
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#52 of 54 Old 10-16-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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Reading all these posts is so strange to me- I'm a redhead and am soooo sensitive to meds- the tiniest bit goes a long way with me and have actually been overdosed by doctors because I need only the tiniest bit to work! Go figure, I seem to be the opposite of the trend here.
IMO pain tolerance during birth is SUCH a personal thing- I really feel like we alll experience it so differently that its really hard to compare.
I tend to do fine with pain- but am terrible with fear, and its amazing how those two things can be so interconnected at times! Thats why I like to focus on my state of mind- where I am mentally, because it can make a huge difference for me personnally. (Easier said than done!!)

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#53 of 54 Old 10-16-2009, 03:43 PM
 
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I'm a redhead-born fiery orange but now auburn-I'm fair skinned, freckled and green eyed...and I have a very high tolerance for pain-5 natural births no meds and two were malpresentations with extended labors. (*whew*). and believe me-I can handle pain a heck of a lot better than many people I know. I've tested the theory!

That being said, I do have a screw up in my nerve placement in my face-dental work is a nightmare cause I have to have 2 or 3 x's the numbing stuff in various places due to strange anatomy in there! The dentist DID remark about it being cause I am a redhead...

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#54 of 54 Old 10-18-2009, 12:42 AM
 
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Hi mama,

as a red-head with three births behind her, I can tell you that YOU CAN DO IT with great certainty. Not only did my birth experiences go smoothly and beautifully, I think our "red headed nature" makes it even easier to labor! For me, imagining contractions like waterfalls, following the flow to out to the sea, taking a breath and knowing the tide was ebbing me that much closer to my babe was all I needed. You know your body, and you know you CAN do this, so just set your focus and trust yourself....the power is all right there, and the pain is oh-so-temporary. good luck and happy birthing!!!
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