The natural epidural gene: fake news or reality?

The natural epidural gene: fake news or reality?

I just commented on a post on Brinkwire about “the epidural gene”. I put the expression in quotes as this “natural epidural” news has been all over the net and yet I don’t see any evidence of it. The articles which just repeat a vague press release mention the KCNG4 gene and the obscure “study: where researchers found that 1% of women would have the natural epidural gene that made them overly tolerant of pain.

natural birth now

I am not one to scream fake news every time I see a piece of news but this one presents many flaws and is questionable, to say the least.

The 7 problems with the “natural epidural gene” news

An April 2018 article from Healthline, “The Natural Epidural Gene,” explains a genetic condition in which a person’s body doesn’t produce enough of a natural medicine in the spinal cord that helps relieve pain. These individuals may not experience any pain or discomfort in their lower body, but may have low-back pain when they stand up from a sitting position, or feel shooting pains in their legs.

You may have heard about a DNA test, that can identify someone’s risk of developing certain health problems, including if they carry a specific gene. This gene, may play a role in natural childbirth but one should prepare for natural childbirth and not gamble to be the lucky recipient of such a gene that is not even proven to exist!

  1. As a family doctor, I have delivered over 3700 babies and never saw a woman with the “natural epidural”. If there is 1% of the women population carrying the gene, that means I would be missing 37 of those lucky women. Many doctors and midwives commented on that “news” their vast experience also does not corroborate the 1% should we say “myth” of the natural epidural gene.
  2.  The reported “study” (sorry for all the quotes, it is just that this news is so vague, I have to quote whatever flashes a red alert) does not specify how many women were in the study.
  3. The research says they studied women who did not ask for the epidural. Then, they jump the gun and describe the same group as women who did not need the epidural. There is a world of difference here!
  4. The report says that they took these women who did not ask for the epidural and then put their arms in cold water, etc Being tolerant to cold water is not similar to giving birth, to say the least!
  5. Then the articles go on to quoteco-author Frank Reimann, professor of endocrine signaling at Cambridge’s department of clinical biochemistry. “But we hope this can open avenues to the development of new drugs to manage pain.”

AHHA!!! I think we are getting to the motivation behind all this very vague news that has been repeated many times.

6. A rare percentage of the population (certainly not 1% of all women) has some form of neuropathy that prevents them from feeling pain (like quadriplegic people) but it is often detrimental to their health as they can injure themselves (like burning) without knowing it. Pain is what makes you pull your hand away from a hot surface.

7. I fear this press release about an epidural gene will give a false impression to pregnant women worldwide that they have a 1% chance of winning the natural epidural gene lottery which I highly doubt. When I see large scale rigorous  studies showing that the epidural gene exists, I will believe it. That means that 1% of a random huge group of women giving birth naturally without any pain (not that they are not asking for the epidural) exists and all have the KCNG4 gene,  then I will believe it. The study would need to be double-blind, random, worldwide and on a larges scale to have any scientific value

8. In the meantime, women preparing for natural childbirth can rely on such programs as
to learn proven techniques to alleviate pain and give birth comfortably. And I have the study to prove it!

The epidural gene is the name given to a single gene variant associated with pain relief during childbirth. Women with the gene variant have an increased chance of experiencing pain relief during labor, and are less likely to require an epidural. In 2017, researchers from the University of Buffalo published the results of a gene variant study conducted by researchers at Western University. The study focused on the multiplayer mode of “the natural epidural gene” in 3,600 women who gave birth to babies at Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Regional Campuses. The gene variant was associated with a 19 percent reduction in the risk of having the epidural.

The Hypno-Baby medical study shows a significant decrease in the need for an epidural for a very comfortable birth. Following the Hypno-Baby course is a sure way to not rely on being the lucky recipiant of the natural epidural gene which is nto even proven to exist.

Natural childbirth course
Hypnosis program for natural childbirth.

Nathalie Fiset, M.D. C.H.

Pain is a signal and as such is a good thing. The complications this woman could have suffered from not recognizing her fracture for 3 days are numerous.
Once we know why a person is having pain, let’s say for labor, it can be controlled beautifully.
Thousands of women gave birth naturally with our hypnosis for childbirth program, many smiling. No, they did not have the “natural epidural’ gene.
One of my smiling patients was 8 centimeters and doing great applying the self-hypnosis techniques during every contraction. She said she got curious to see why other women were saying that contractions hurt so much. She decided to not do the Hypno-Beginning techniques she had learned for the next contraction. She screamed and jumped in panic right back into hypnosis!