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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:
- The area for the epidural injection is cleaned and injected with a local anesthetic.
- The anesthesiologist inserts a needle into your spine and injects an anesthetic medicine.
- A small tube, called a catheter, is left in place to allow later injection of more anesthetic medicine if necessary.
- 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.
A Sampling of Anesthesia During Childbirth Support Services
IU Health Women's Health
Find out more about obstetric services offered at IU Health, including care for high-risk pregnancies.
When Seconds Count
This website provides information about preparing for surgery to help ensure you receive the highest-quality care.
This NIH website provides a more detailed overview of the epidural and spinal anesthesia techniques.
This government website hosts information about childbirth in general, with some information about managing labor pain.