Anesthesia for Labor and Delivery
We provide anesthesia for the Birth Place at Rockdale Hospital on a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week schedule.
(pain relief for childbirth)
If intravenous pain medications ordered by the obstetrician are inadequate or the labor patient requests an epidural for her labor, the anesthesiologists are available for consult for labor analgesia. The primary technique employed at Rockdale Hospital by anesthesiologists for labor analgesia is called a labor epidural. We try to wait until the patient's cervix is dilated to 4 centimeters or greater prior to placement in order to decrease the chance that it will slow down the labor process. It involves placement of a very thin hollow tube in the lower back of the labor patient where pain medication can be administered in order to relieve about 80% of the pain of labor contractions. The medication causes the patient's legs and lower body to become numb and weak while it is administered. The medication is generally continued until the child is born. After the medication wears off, the legs and lower body return to normal sensation and strength. Educational sessions and further information about labor epidurals are given in the childbirth classes at Rockdale Hospital.
The anesthesiologists can generally respond within 30 minutes to place a labor epidural, however, there are rare occasions when there is a prior emergency that will take precedence.
For more information about labor epidurals please click on the following link:
Planning your Childbirth
Caesarean Section (C-Section)
(surgery for childbirth)
If a patient needs either an elective (planned) or emergency C-section, then we provide the anesthesia for the surgery. On most of the C-sections, we use either a spinal, epidural, or a combination technique. These techniques have been shown to be the safest anesthetic techniques for C-section. The lower body is numbed with a much stronger medication than that used for a labor epidural so that sharp pain is not felt during surgery. If the C-section is an emergency, then sometimes we must use a general anesthetic ( put the patient to sleep for surgery).
If a patient wants to have her tubes tied following a normal delivery, we use a spinal anesthetic for her surgery. The surgery is scheduled as time allows but is usually done the next day after delivery. If she wants to go to sleep for her surgery, then we recommend that she wait 6 weeks and have it done laparoscopically.