Historical development of obstetrical anesthesia
Marx GF.
Department of Anesthesiology,
Albert Einstein College of Medicine,
Bronx, New York.
Anaesthesist. 1987 Oct;36(10):537-40.


Pain is a primary component of normal childbirth as evidenced by the behavior of parturients in primitive societies. Methods of pain relief such as the use of herbs and plant extracts were described in ancient writings. Modern obstetric analgesia employing ether began in 1847, three months after the first successful surgical anesthetic. Administration of chloroform and nitrous oxide followed. Twilight sleep, a combination of morphine and scopolamine, became popular in the beginning of the twentieth century as did regional analgesia, first single injection and later continuous blockade via catheter. Simultaneously, psychologic methods were propagated, but were not uniformly successful. Continuous lumbar extradural analgesia has evolved as the optimal method of bsotetric pain relief, both subjectively and objectively, and its combination with childbirth education is considered to be complementary. The increasing utilization of obstetric analgesia and the recognition of marked physiologic and pharmacologic differences between pregnant and nonpregnant patients has led to the development of the subspecialty of obstetric anesthesia as well as to the foundation of obstetric anesthesia societies.
Labour pain
Adam Hammer
James Simpson
Ether in obstetrics
General anaesthetics
Opposition to obstetric anaesthesia
Anaesthesia: rivalries and discoveries
From taboo to evidence-based medicine
Recent advances in obstetric anaesthesia
Early religious/military opposition to anaesthetics

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