General anesthesia and pregnancy: risks to mother and baby

Being informed about general anesthesia will help prevent mothers from being caught by surprise in the unlikely event that it might be necessary. General anesthesia causes a total loss of both sensation and consciousness. It is rarely used for childbirth because a mother’s conscious participation is regarded as highly important for a safe and efficient birth.

Situations In which a Health Care Provider might decide to administer general anesthesia:

-Emergency cesarean when rapid loss of sensation is required
-In rare cases where an epidural or spinal block cannot be placed
-When the woman cannot tolerate a regional anesthetic
-When the benefits of general anesthesia clearly outweigh the risks

Only when everything is absolutely ready will the anesthesiologist ask you to inhale the drugs to put you to sleep. This will be followed immediately by the insertion of an andotracheal tube into your mouth and down your throat, to ensure that oxygen can be delivered to your lungs and to prevent you from regurgitating food or fluid from your stomach. Further drugs to relax your abdominal muscles will be given via IV and the surgeon is then able to perform the operation very quickly, delivering the baby in a few minutes, before significant amounts of anesthetic drugs have crossed the placenta.

Overall, you will be asleep for about 40-60 minutes.

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Birth: November 22
On Moms.com since: Jun 21, 2013
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