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Choice of Anesthesia in C-section

surrounding the spinal cord through an injection in the woman's lower back. This is usually performed by an anesthesiologist who is well-trained in the procedure.

With spinal anesthesia, the anesthetic medicine is injected directly inside the sac of fluid that surrounds the spinal cord, whereas with epidural anesthesia the anesthetic is given through a tiny "catheter" or tube that has been placed in the space overlying this sac of fluid.

"Virtually no OB facility in the United States routinely uses general anesthesia; in fact, its use is limited to very rare clinical settings," Lockwood said. "General anesthesia increases the risk of maternal aspiration pneumonia and of obstetrical hemorrhage," because the anesthetic gas inhibits the mother's contractions. "It also suppresses the newborn and causes the mother to miss the birth of her child because she is unconscious," he added.

"Regional anesthesia is preferable to general anesthesia except in rare circumstances -- for example, where obstetrical emergencies require immediate delivery and one cannot wait for the slower-acting regional anesthesia to take effect," Lockwood said.



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