March 2nd, 2012

Safe and Individualized Labor Analgesia

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Although some women want to experience childbirth without medications, most women in the United States labor with an epidural or spinal analgesic. Epidurals provide relatively consistent pain relief, are long-lasting, can be titrated according to the analgesic needs of the mother, and can be bolused for procedures such as forceps, vacuum, or cesarean delivery. But they can have undesirable side effects including lower-extremity motor block, hypotension, urinary retention, and pruritus, and they may increase the risk for a slightly prolonged labor, a forceps or vacuum delivery, and fever during labor. This article describes the current thinking regarding labor analgesia and how anesthesiologists and obstetricians can help women have a birth experience that is both safe and satisfying

Minnesota Medicine, by Dr. Katherine Arendt, 03/01/2012

Tags: Anesthesiology, cesarean delivery, epidural, forceps, hypotension, lower-extremity motor block, ObGyn, puritus, spinal analgesic, urinary retention, vacuum

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