Researchers concluded in a study that several women request an epidural as a pain reliever during childbirth to avoid labor pains. But, not every woman needs a pain reliever, and they might have a rare gene that allows them to endure pain.
Scientists found in research that women who don’t need pain relievers or epidural during childbirth might carry a rare variant gene, which increases the pain threshold among them.
Researchers at Cambridge University found that the gene is involved in reducing the nerve cells’ ability to signal pain to the person’s brain, and only 1 of the 100 women have such a variant. It explains why the delivery of a child is a less painful experience for some women because the gene, as mentioned earlier, acts as a natural epidural in their bodies.
In a press release, Dr. Michael Lee mentioned:
“It is a lot unusual for a woman not to request air or epidural for pain relief during childbirth, particularly during first-time delivery.”
The increased pain threshold is experimented by a group of scientists on a sample of women who don’t demand pain relief during childbirth. The experiment consisted of a set of exercises applied to test women’s pain resistance. The results, when compared with the women who demand pain reliever, demonstrated a far higher pain threshold.
The genetic code was explored and revealed gene KCNG4. This gene was found to produce a protein involved in creating a “gate,” thus controlling the flow of signals from nerve cells to the brain. Dr. Evan Smith, pharmacology department of Cambridge, mentioned:
“It takes a much greater amount of signal, in other words, much stronger contractions during labor, to turn it on which makes it less likely for pain signal to reach the brain.”
Dr. Frank Reiman, professor at the clinical biochemistry department of Cambridge, also presented an array of hope that further exploration of this gene and its biochemical anatomy could help develop a new pain management drug in the future.