We know redheads often need more general anesthesia than those with other hair colors. In a recent How to be a Redhead podcast, Adrienne and Stephanie interviewed Dr. David Sherer about redheads needing more anesthesia, and he confirmed studies do show redheads need about 20% more anesthesia than brunettes.
Listen to the full podcast here:
Now you might be wondering, is this the same for childbirth? After all, epidural anesthesia is regional anesthesia that blocks pain when a woman is giving birth. An online article was published recently by Today’s Parent Magazine discussing how the epidural didn’t really have much effect for redheads. It goes on to talk about how medical professionals and midwives have long suspected redheads experience labor pains differently and some may even experience heavy bleeding and hemorrhage.
So should expecting redheads to be concerned? Norman Buckley, director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care, and professor emeritus of anesthesia in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton had some things to say about this.
“The gene that gives you red hair is also associated with changes in the way the central nervous system controls and blocks pain,” says Buckley. And what this means is the MC1R gene that is responsible for our red hair is a mutation, which can trigger changes to the pain receptors in the brain.
Thankfully redhead moms-to-be don’t need to worry. Hospitals and birthing suites are equipped to make mom as comfortable as possible while keeping her and baby safe. If you’re a pregnant redhead, it’s important to discuss your pain management plan with your doctor, or even take some pain management classes to help you understand what your body will experience.
Listen to Season 3, Episode 12 when Dr. David Fisher talks to Adrienne and Stephanie about redheads and pain:
Rock it like a Redhead!