Epidurals as well as other general anesthetic techniques are offered to patients to assist with labor and delivery, as well as with follow-up care. Whether you have a routine or complex delivery experience, we are committed to providing a comprehensive anesthetic approach with your comfort and safety as our number one priority. We always strive to foster a stress-free experience for mothers, families and their new babies.

What Is Obstetrical Anesthesia?

While there are a few different approaches to this, the most common and effective manner of pain relief is an epidural. Here we will touch on the various options you have for pain relief. Keep in mind that every form of pain relief comes with a certain degree of inherent risk. The best way to decide what is right for you is by weighing the risks against the benefits. We recommend talking to your doctor about your labor and delivery plan so you can make your intentions known regarding what medication you may be open to during childbirth.

Systemic Analgesics

These medications are usually classified as opioids. Administered through an IV, they have a calming effect and are meant to reduce your overall awareness of the pain. Although generally safe, there are some side effects that may occur, such as itchiness, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness or difficulty concentrating. These side effects may impact your baby’s breathing and heart rate, making them drowsy after birth.

Nitrous Oxide

Commonly referred to as laughing gas, this is used to reduce anxiety during labor and delivery. It has no odor or taste and is safe for both the mother and baby.

Local Anesthesia

Local anesthesia help reduce or prevent pain in a very small area of the body, specifically the area around the vagina. If you require an episiotomy, local anesthesia can relieve pain. Although rare, it is possible to experience an allergic reaction or have a nerve or heart problem if the dose is too high.

Regional Anesthesia

A form of anesthesia that reduces pain below the waist. It includes:

  • Epidural Block
  • Spinal Block
  • Combined Spinal-Epidural Block

More than 50% of women who give birth in a hospital setting receive an epidural. Epidural does not knock you out or completely remove pain or sensations. When administered correctly, there is a decrease in sensation in the lower half of the body. While you will not be able to move around, you should still be able to feel when you are having a contraction, and you should still have the ability to push. Having any form of regional anesthesia increases the risk of your baby experiencing changes in heart rate, breathing problems, drowsiness, reduced muscle tone and difficulty breastfeeding.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is only recommended during emergencies. Patients under general anesthesia may slip into unconsciousness and may not feel pain. Although rare, being placed under general anesthesia can result in aspiration. To avoid this, you are directed not to eat or drink anything once you go into labor or know you will have a cesarean section delivery.

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