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Anesthesia During Childbirth

Obstetric anesthesia provides special pain management for women before and during childbirth. Indiana University Health anesthesiologists share your excitement about the birth of your baby and want you to experience this milestone as fully as possible. Our expert physicians ensure you receive the level of pain management you want by carefully managing your medicines and monitoring the health of you and your baby.

Our anesthesiologists serve as leading experts in the nation for obstetric care. Women with high-risk, complicated pregnancies rely on IU Health to deliver their babies safely and comfortably. Our around-the-clock support and monitoring help you and your baby receive the care you need when you need it.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Anesthesia During Childbirth Treatment Information

The use of anesthetics during labor and delivery provides a unique challenge since our anesthesiologists are treating two patients: mother and baby. Our expert physicians understand how to monitor both you and your baby’s health, ensuring you receive the pain reducing medicine you need without affecting your baby.

Epidural injections are the most common technique for pain relief during labor. If you receive an epidural, you should expect the following process to take place:

  1. The area for the epidural injection is cleaned and injected with a local anesthetic.
  2. The anesthesiologist inserts a needle into your spine and injects an anesthetic medicine.
  3. A small tube, called a catheter, is left in place to allow later injection of more anesthetic medicine if necessary.
  4. The medicine takes effect in 10 to 20 minutes, reducing the pain associated with labor and contractions.

For various reasons, you may need to undergo a caesarean section (C-section), a surgery to deliver the baby by creating an incision in your abdomen. During C-sections, the anesthesiologist administers surgical anesthesia and monitors the vital signs of both you and your baby. You remain alert and awake during C-sections but do not feel the pain of surgery.

If you choose not to use anesthetics while giving birth, our anesthesiologists remain available to offer pain relief, if circumstances require a change in your birthing plan.


Anesthesia During Childbirth Locations & Physicians

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Anesthesia During Childbirth Support Services

The websites below offer useful information about the use of anesthesia during labor and delivery. They help you know what to expect so you can feel more comfortable as you prepare for the birth of your baby.