Our goal during labor and vaginal birth or Cesarean delivery is to provide pain relief with as little adverse effect as possible on normal labor and the baby. This goal may be accomplished by providing medications to reduce pain:
- Epidural analgesia is often used to relieve pain during vaginal births. If epidural anesthesia is used, the mother may need assistance in pushing out the baby. Baystate Health was one of the first maternity units in our region to offer patient-controlled epidural anesthesia.
- Spinal anesthesia may be required if a Cesarean section is necessary.
- General anesthesia (where the mother is completely asleep) may be required in some Cesarean deliveries.
Anesthesia services for obstetrics at Baystate Health are provided by a minimum of two anesthesia personnel, one being an attending anesthesiologist dedicated to the labor and delivery unit 24 hours a day. Nearly 70% of all patients delivering at Baystate receive an anesthetic.
The goal of labor analgesia at Baystate Health is to provide pain relief with as little effect on normal labor and the baby as possible.
"Epidural" analgesia is often used to relieve pain during vaginal births. Obstetricians and anesthesiologists have responded to the desires of our patients and are pleased to announce that patient-controlled epidural anesthesia (PCEA) is now available during labor, giving women more control over their own pain management, and alleviating anxiety throughout the process.
"Spinal" anesthesia may be required if a Cesarean section is necessary. Most Cesarean deliveries are done with spinal or epidural anesthesia; however in some cases, a general anesthetic (mother is completely asleep) may be required.
Here are some things to remember about anesthesia:
- Your personal preferences
- Your condition
- The amount of pain you are experiencing
- The baby's status.
It's important to practice your breathing and relaxation techniques in case you cannot receive anesthesia.
Sometimes the condition of the mother and baby during delivery may call for a different anesthetic from the one you chose prior to delivery.