Anesthetic management of labor pain:
what does an obstetrician need to know?

Kuczkowski KM.
Departments of Anesthesiology,
and Reproductive Medicine,
University of California San Diego,
92103-8770, San Diego, CA, USA.
Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2004 Sep 9


BACKGROUND. Obstetrical anesthesia is considered by many to be a high-risk subspecialty of anesthesia practice that is laden with clinical challenges and medico-legal liability. Anesthesia-related complications are the sixth leading cause of pregnancy-related maternal mortality in the United States. COMPLICATIONS. Difficult or failed intubation following induction of general anesthesia for cesarean delivery remains the major contributory factor to anesthesia-related maternal complications. REQUIREMENTS. Communication skills and exchange of information (between anesthesiologists, obstetricians, and nurses) in an ever changing environment of labor and delivery are essential for a perfect outcome, which is always expected when providing safe passage for both the mother and her fetus from antepartum to postpartum period. The safe provision of labor anesthesia and/or analgesia requires appropriate staff, facilities, and equipment for proper patient safety. DISCUSSION. This article is intended for obstetricians and reviews the current guidelines for the administration of obstetrical anesthesia and analgesia.
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