Anesthesiologists in The Birthplace encourage you to discuss anesthesia options with your obstetrician or an obstetric anesthesiologist, in order to make the choice that is best for you.
The Birthplace has anesthesiologists available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Choices of anesthesia include:
- Natural childbirth, in which no anesthesia is used, if that is your wish.
- General anesthesia (usually reserved for emergency deliveries), in which you remain unconscious through the delivery.
- Epidural Anesthesia, a type of regional pain relief in which pain-relieving medication is injected into the space around the lower spinal cord. You remain awake, conscious, and pain free, and may even be able to walk. (This is the most effective form of medical pain relief.)
- Spinal anesthesia, which is similar to an epidural, but its effects are felt much faster. You may feel numb and will need help in moving during the delivery. Spinal anesthetics are mostly used for delivery by cesarean section or when the use of forceps is necessary.
- Sedation (narcotics or tranquilizers), which can be given as an injection or intravenously. Sedation can help to decrease anxiety, improve relaxation, and reduce the pain of labor but will not eliminate pain.
- Local anesthesia, an injection of local anesthetic to numb your perineal area (between the vulva and the rectum) in preparation for delivery.