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Obstetrics Anesthesia

Anesthesiologist speaking with patient

Your comfort and safety, as well as the health and safety of your baby, are the primary concerns of our board-certified anesthesiologists who specialize in obstetrics.

We have a dedicated team to care for OB patients 24/7. There is an anesthesia team member present on the floor at all times. We evaluate every pregnant patient who may deliver during her stay. Since our OB/gyn team cares for moms with high risk or complicated medical conditions, we may consult with these patients weeks or months prior to delivery to help devise a safe plan for a comfortable delivery.

Our first step will be to meet with you and review your medical history. This initial assessment typically happens soon after you’re admitted, unless your obstetrician has identified prior health concerns and requested earlier consultation.

We’ll talk with you and your obstetrician so that we are familiar with your birthing plans and preferences. We'll explain available options for pain management and try to be certain we’ve answered any questions or addressed any concerns you may have.

Based on this input, we’ll develop a specific anesthesia plan for you, with options for both vaginal and cesarean delivery. While our obstetrics team has been at the forefront of reducing the rate of Cesarean section we want to be prepared in the event of an unforeseen development.

During pregnancy, your body goes through many physiological changes. Our specialists are familiar with these changes and understand how they can affect the risks of various treatments. In addition, you can take confidence in the fact that our obstetrics team cares for more high-risk pregnancies and complex maternal-fetal conditions than most hospitals in the region.

We are fully committed to a healthy outcome both for you and your baby.

Frequently asked questions

  • An epidural involves placing a tiny plastic tube between the bones of the back so that numbing medication can be given continuously. Unless dislodged, it will provide comfort until it is turned off after delivery. An anesthesia team member will visit you periodically after placement to make sure you are still comfortable. The numbness wears off over an hour or two after the medication is turned off.

  • Before the epidural is placed, your skin is numbed with an injection of medication that will initially sting. After that, dull pressure is felt during placement. After placement, the epidural will not be felt at all.

  • Yes! It is safe to breastfeed after having epidural or spinal anesthesia.

  • It is very common to have a small bruise where the epidural was placed, just like there is often a bruise from an IV. More severe or persistent pain is extremely rare. Often, back pain after delivery is caused by the delivery process itself, positioning during delivery or the change in the spine’s curvature from the pregnancy state to the nonpregnant state.

  • Your anesthesia team will take care of you in case a C-section is needed. If you have an epidural in place from laboring, it will be used to make you more numb so that you can be awake for your baby's birth. If no epidural is in place, you may be given a spinal which is an injection of numbing medication in your back or epidural for surgery if it is safe to do so. Mothers who cannot have a spinal or epidural will go to sleep under general anesthesia as they would for many other types of surgeries. If it is safe to do so and time allows, we make every effort to use either an epidural or spinal rather than general anesthesia so the mom can be awake and comfortable during the C-section birth.