Red-haired moms/natural birth - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, this is a strange question, but I am planning my first unmedicated birth (last time, I labored for 48 hours to about 6 cms then gave in to the epi) and I have to say that I am a little spooked by the recent NYT article all about how redheads have a lesser tolerance for pain than most people. Any fellow redheads out there who can assure me we can do it the old-fashioned way, too?
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#2 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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i am due literally any day now and plan on a natural birth. fear not, we can do it lady! think of it this way, we have lived our whole lives with this supposed lower tolerance, so it is only a lower tolerance as compared to others, not as compared to yourself.

don't let this psych you out! plenty of red headed women in my family have also done it au natural and all is well!

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#3 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 07:24 PM
 
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Outing myself as a redhead here. I've heard this before, but I think I have a pretty normal pain tolerance, if not higher. I really think that's strictly mental.

I've also heard that redheads bleed more, but from what I've heard from midwives & doctors, it seems to be 50/50. Personally, I did hemorrhage in my second birth, but hoping to prevent that this time with a healthier diet and exercise.

PS. 48 hours! You gave it your best! Were you induced, by any chance? That does often make labor more painful than usual.

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#4 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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Does strawberry blonde count? I have redheaded kids, so definitely the genes are there. I had both of them with no pain meds. Almost got an epidural with my first, but after the hour they wanted me to wait for fluids first, I was at 10 cm and ready to push. After doing it with him, I knew I could do it again, so am planning on a natural birth again this time. I don't know if my pain tolerance is any better or worse than others, but for me, doing a lot of reading and practicing pain management techniques really helped. So I think a lot of it is being prepared, and having few complications, plus in my case, not having super long labors really helped.

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#5 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 07:54 PM
 
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haha, me too!

i read that nyt article and was pissed at the extrapolations the author made.

what i think the study was saying was that redheads have a gene that keeps LOCAL anesthesia from being as effective.

that has nothing to do with pain tolerance. in fact, i've read studies that say redheaded women have HIGHER pain tolerance. this link is to a story that discusses some studies, not to actual studies.

so, crappy NYT author, poo to you, and to us strong, pain-ruling redheads!!

me+him for 15 yrs, welcomed our little one march 25th, 2010.

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#6 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 08:09 PM
 
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Was going to post the same thing as Peace+Hope - I have heard that red heads have a HIGHER pain tolerance...

I am a red head & I had a natural birth. For my first birth I had a c-section and had NO pain meds at all till they gave me the spinal moments before they operated. (or felt anyneed for them). For my second birth I had a VBAC.

I did bleed a lot after my 2nd and fainted from the blood loss - my midwife said it was because "redheads are bleeders" LOL

PS - I also almost always have dental work with no novocaine b/c it doesn't really work and only makes my lips and cheek feel funny for hours after...

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#7 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 10:00 PM
 
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I'm a redhead, 9 weeks pregnant now. A friend of mine recently pointed this out (before she even knew I was pregnant)... what do people expect us to do with this information?! Ha ha, sigh. I'm a woman who's had really severe dysmenorrhea (I cannot spell lately, pregnancy brain)/ terrible cramps with my menstrual cycle the past decade, and did wonder if maybe I am more sensitive to the pain of those cramps due to being a redhead (or whatever). But I heard about another study that said that women with bad cramps tend to have easier labor pains. My unscientific theory is that we've already had to deal with a lot of really awful contraction-y pain, so when labor comes, the pain is bad but not such a surprise.
But this is my first pregnancy, so I really don't know WHAT I'm talking about. I'm going to do my best to ignore any implication that my pain will be worse, because I probably wouldn't know what was normal for anyone else anyway. I'm gonna try to focus on my body being built to do this, and that the pain will be worse than I can imagine, but I will get through it and can't do much about that anyway. I'm also going to explore guided meditations/ hypnosis - and though I'm going to try for a medication-free labor, I'm not ruling anything out.
I think all you can really do is set goals and do your best! Good luck, and here's a redheaded hug coming your way
Oh, and don't women in general have way higher pain tolerance than men? Maybe that will help - just focus on what wussies those dudes would be in labor!
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#8 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 10:03 PM
 
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I am a "redhead" not fire red but red enough and Im a bleeder but birthed twice w/out meds, you can do it!!
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#9 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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The Scottish half of my family would disagree! (As would the entirety of Ireland, I imagine).

I've heard about the redheads being bleeders, but not about the pain thing. If I were guess anecdotally, I would say the redheads I know in my family have super high pain tolerances.

Kara: on a journey with DH, Mama to DS 2/2010
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#10 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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I'm a redhead (very, very, very red hair) and my pain tolerance is terrible! I don't know if degree of redness matters or not. I'm hoping to go as long as I can without any pain medication, but I won't turn an epidural down if I'm in serious pain. I've had issues with some local anesthesia in the past, but not general anestesia and it doesn't happen all of the time. Generally I feel any work being done on my teeth, which can be pure torture.

Please let us know how it goes! You definitely can go the natural way. It's been done for thousands of years. It just might be tougher depending. Good luck!

Jackson Steven born 02/24/10! <3
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#11 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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I'm a red head and I actually have a high tolerance for pain. Local anesthesia never works for me, and I did bleed a lot after my second. The bleeding could've just been from a tear. I gave birth to my second drug free at home. Don't listen to that crap, you can do it!

Mom to Zolan 10-10-06 and Silas 7-10-08, wife to Ben since 12-1-06
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#12 of 54 Old 09-03-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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I'm a redhead! I have had two homebirths without meds after having two in the hospital with epidurals. My labors were quick and straighforward with minimal bleeding. I'm planning my third homebirth coming in the next month or so and if labor had been that bad for me, don't you think I would opt to back to the hospital with an epi? You'll do great. Stay home longer this time. Hospitals really tend to slow labors down with all their paperwork and IV's and monitoring. It is hard to focus on laboring when you are being pulled in so many different directions!

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#13 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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Moved to Birth and Beyond .

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#14 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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I'm a red head too. Pregnant with my first. I so did not want to read this article, considering I'm planning on a natural home birth.

Pain tolerance ... to be honest, I probably do have a low pain tolerance. However, I always figured that once the baby was inside of me (short of an emergency), it was only coming out one way. So, somehow, I'd just get through it.

I'll let you know how that goes, lol.

First special delivery - April 2010 :
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#15 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 10:44 AM
 
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#16 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by aramat View Post
Outing myself as a redhead here. I've heard this before, but I think I have a pretty normal pain tolerance, if not higher. I really think that's strictly mental.

I've also heard that redheads bleed more, but from what I've heard from midwives & doctors, it seems to be 50/50. Personally, I did hemorrhage in my second birth, but hoping to prevent that this time with a healthier diet and exercise.

PS. 48 hours! You gave it your best! Were you induced, by any chance? That does often make labor more painful than usual.
Thank you! I wasn't induced, but I did go into labor naturally at 37 weeks with a fairly small baby that had his hand by his head and turned back-to-back during labor. It was fine, the first 48 hours were fairly mild. I was more tired and psyched out when I got the epi...but I DID get to skip feeling transition and pushing contractions.
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#17 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 10:51 AM
 
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I never knew you were a red head too, P+H!!!

I am a redhead. I would say I have average to low pain tolerance. I hate getting hurt. I freak out with finger pricks, I cry when I stub my toe. I did have two natural births though. The first was 29 hours, the second 42. The first one was tough, but I got through it. The second was terrible I cried, shrieked, screamed, demanded my midwife pull Ava out with spaghetti tongs, begged for a "Csection at the neck" but I got through it. I am glad I did too because after that I now realize the next one should be a breeze.

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#18 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a redhead! I have had two homebirths without meds after having two in the hospital with epidurals. My labors were quick and straighforward with minimal bleeding. I'm planning my third homebirth coming in the next month or so and if labor had been that bad for me, don't you think I would opt to back to the hospital with an epi? You'll do great. Stay home longer this time. Hospitals really tend to slow labors down with all their paperwork and IV's and monitoring. It is hard to focus on laboring when you are being pulled in so many different directions!
Firewoman, that is so inspiring, thank you for this! I am actually staying at home this time with a CNM and doula. Last time was actually at a WONDERFUL birth center in the UK (no paperwork, food/drink readily available, monitoring only if I wanted it, and even then I was allowed to be on my birthing ball or beanbag , privacy in a dark room with just DH), so I have to say I cannot "blame" my long labor on the circumstances. It might just be how I labor. I'm not so much scared of it being long again, I am scared of transition contractions! But hearing this gives me courage!
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#19 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 10:58 AM
 
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Redhead here with what I'd consider a pretty high pain tolerance for "serious" things--when it comes to stubbing my toe or something like that, I'm a big baby though! I had dd in a hospital with no pain meds, 9 lbs 13.3 oz, some bleeding afterwards but no one used the word "hemorrhage" at any point. I'm planning a homebirth with #2!

Rachel, mama to Lucy, born 9.9.07, and Caroline, born 2.25.10!
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#20 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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Not a redhead here, but I read the article a while ago.

From what I understand, redheads aren't as affected by pain meds, so basically you need 20% (or whatever the number is) more than the average non-redhead. So don't think of it as having a lower pain tolerance, think of it as the meds being less effective.

In other words, a epidural isn't going to help you as much as the next lady, so you might as well do it natural. Good luck!
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#21 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not a redhead here, but I read the article a while ago.

From what I understand, redheads aren't as affected by pain meds, so basically you need 20% (or whatever the number is) more than the average non-redhead. So don't think of it as having a lower pain tolerance, think of it as the meds being less effective.

In other words, a epidural isn't going to help you as much as the next lady, so you might as well do it natural. Good luck!
Yeah, maybe this is why I loved my epidural so much last time...it took the edge off, but I could still walk, pee, and know what was going on enough to push effectively. I wish I trusted any hospital in this country enough to do the same thing again! I think either that is true, or maybe I just don't have the redhead-pain gene, since I've never had to ask for more meds at the dentist or when getting moles removed, etc.
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#22 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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Also explains why I once woke up from general anesthesia and cried for my mommy (I was 25).

Evergreen- Loving my girls Dylan dust.gifage8, Ava energy.gifage 4 and baby Georgia baby.gif (6/3/11).

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#23 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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Not a redhead here, but I read the article a while ago.

From what I understand, redheads aren't as affected by pain meds, so basically you need 20% (or whatever the number is) more than the average non-redhead. So don't think of it as having a lower pain tolerance, think of it as the meds being less effective.

In other words, a epidural isn't going to help you as much as the next lady, so you might as well do it natural. Good luck!
See now THAT makes sense to me. My red-headed mom tells me that pain meds do anything for pain for her, and in my experience (as a strawberry blonde) I've found the same thing. Especially narcotic pain medications--they're almost completely useless to me. I've been on vicodin without it helping _at all_.

My mom did 3 natural births without any form of meds, and two c-sections under general (because there was fear the epidural/spinal might not even work). I had the kid without any pain meds, and without taking much of anything afterwards either. Just some advil in the first couple of days (advil being the only pain med that really does much of anything for me).
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#24 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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See now THAT makes sense to me. My red-headed mom tells me that pain meds do anything for pain for her, and in my experience (as a strawberry blonde) I've found the same thing. Especially narcotic pain medications--they're almost completely useless to me. I've been on vicodin without it helping _at all_.

My mom did 3 natural births without any form of meds, and two c-sections under general (because there was fear the epidural/spinal might not even work). I had the kid without any pain meds, and without taking much of anything afterwards either. Just some advil in the first couple of days (advil being the only pain med that really does much of anything for me).
I'm not a mother yet, but I have all the classic traits for the redhead gene (obviously red hair, very pale, freckled) and completely agree with the theory that redheads don't have a low pain tolerance, but are just harder medicate.

I had my wisdom teeth taken out a couple years ago and I was fine during the procedure with just laughing gas. But the Percocet they gave me for afterward did basically nothing, so I completely felt where they had drilled at my jaw bone to extract an impacted tooth. I believe my recommended dosage was 1 pill every 6 hours. I took 4 pills in about 2 hours and still ended up crying to my mother.

So it would absolutely make sense to me that narcotic pain medications might not be as effective. It's pretty funny you mention advil as well because that's the only thing that took the edge off my pain! Aside from those problems, I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance. My mom always says she'd rather give birth (all of hers were without any pain medications) than have dental work done. I'm hoping I'll end up saying the same thing.
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#25 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 08:20 PM
 
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This is really interesting.

Before my first child was born, I had menstrual cramps that often no pain med could touch. They hurt like crazy, though, so don't know about my pain tolerance there.

But, after dental work, I haven't needed pain meds. Even when I had all four wisdom teeth removed at once--but that may also have been that I had the world's greatest dentist.

Of two births so far, one was easy until 6cm and then medicated (~45 min later) at 9cm (which was when I arrived at the hospital), and the other was natural. But the painful postpartum recovery has kicked my butt both times...

Hmm, I don't know!

Tamara: Aspiring doula, partner to Brazilian musician, mom to THREE GIRLIES!
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#26 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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I am not a red head (and neither is dh) but I am the mom to three absolutely red, no question about it, heads.

I have had several docs tell me about the harder to anesthetise and bleeding issues and we have seen both.

As to the question about pain tolerance I have to say I am in awe of my red headed 15 yo dd. She had a bicycle accident this summer and impailed her leg on her handlebars. They actually cut her bike off her and she arrived at the hospital with the handlebars still attached. She never cried the entire time. She yelled 5 times ( I had to do something to keep my mind off of it) all when they were moving her, or the handlebars. And she never wanted pain meds. I made her take them whenever I knew something would be coming up but she never said she was in pain.

You can do it!
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#27 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 09:48 PM
 
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Saw this in new posts...

Redhead here with a very high pain tolerance and apparently bad karma for getting to test it at regular intervals: I have kidney stones every few months, had gallstones (now have no gall bladder) and I've given birth 6 times, lol. The natural births were actually the least painful of all those things!

On the other hand, I am definitely a bleeder. I hemorrhaged w/baby #4 and then again even worse with my most recent birth. So there may indeed be something to that assertion, imo.

Guin

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#28 of 54 Old 09-04-2009, 10:36 PM
 
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This is really interesting.
But, after dental work, I haven't needed pain meds. Even when I had all four wisdom teeth removed at once--but that may also have been that I had the world's greatest dentist.
Nope, I had all four wisdom teeth removed at once, and 25 minutes later was pissed off by all the restrictions on the sheet they gave me. I didn't take any pain meds afterwards either, because there was no need.

I had my wisdom teeth extracted the morning of a Friday, and was totally myself except for needing to eat soft things by dinner. My sister (also a strawberry blond) had exactly the same experience when she had hers removed recently.

Oh, yeah: I was also put under general for the wisdom teeth removal, and had one of the quickest recoveries from general that the oral surgeon said he'd ever seen. They brought me down, removed the teeth, stopped the meds, and I was up without any further effect. I walked out of the surgery room to recovery myself.
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#29 of 54 Old 09-05-2009, 08:47 PM
 
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Not a redhead myself either but interested in the topic because dd2 is a redhead.

Regarding the dental anesthetics, a dentist once told me that sometimes people have their nerves in slightly different places. So the spot where they wold normaly put the novacaine in most people will not work for some people (like me). So no matter how many times they shoot me full of novacaine in the normal spot I won't go numb. The dentist has to some special manuver (I can't remember what its called) to get me numb.

Heather Mike Married 8/1/99 Mom to Charlotte Aug 04, Nov 06, and Katherine Oct 07
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#30 of 54 Old 09-05-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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Outing myself as a redhead here. I've heard this before, but I think I have a pretty normal pain tolerance, if not higher. I really think that's strictly mental.

I've also heard that redheads bleed more...
Ditto to all of this! I've had three nat'l births and think I have amazing tolerance for pain. I'm also not much of a bleeder.

Stacy - mom to Lily 5-20-06 , Angel, stillborn @ 25 wks 12-17-07 , and Cami 4-21-09.
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