Obstetric Anesthesia

You will meet your anesthesiologist prior to your epidural placement or surgery. You may also receive a phone call and/or have a preoperative appointment to review preoperative instructions. The instructions that you receive are tailored to your specific needs so please adhere to them.

What is an epidural?
Epidurals provide effective pain control during contractions and vaginal delivery. To place an epidural, a catheter (a spaghetti thin tube) is placed in the lower part of your back. Medication is given through this catheter to provide pain control. 

What is a spinal?
A spinal involves placing a one-time dose of medication in your lower back. No catheter is left with this procedure. Oftentimes spinals are used for cesarean sections.


What should I expect for the procedure?
Your anesthesiologist will ask you questions about your medical history, review the procedure and answer any questions you may have. To prepare for the procedure, you will either be asked to lie on your side with your legs curled up to your chest, or to sit and curl your back. Your OB nurse will help you with positioning. First, numbing medication will be placed in the skin of your lower back which may cause a slight sting initially. You will feel pressure in your back during the procedure. The procedure should be largely pain free. If you experience pain, please let your anesthesiologist know. 


Where can I learn more?

What are the risks?

All operations and anesthesia involve some degree of risk. The nature of your operation and your overall pre-operative condition are important factors that are considered when estimating the risks for your particular operative experience. Your anesthesiologist will review your particular risks, and the risks that are common to the anesthetic plan tailored to you.