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You are about to embark on one of the most exciting experiences of your life with the birth of your baby. Your Obstetrician, labor nurse and the members of American Anesthesiology are committed to making the delivery of your newborn as safe and comfortable as possible. AA of VA administers more than 3,000 labor anesthetics per year. AA of VA and its CRNAs are very skilled in providing several types of analgesia and anesthesia. As your pregnancy is unique, your team will work with you to determine the safest and most effective form of anesthesia for delivery. Many forms of analgesia and anesthesia are available to help control the labor pain that you may experience. We hope that the following information will help you make an informed decision regarding your anesthetic options

 

Types of Labor Pain Control Available

  • Natural childbirth: Some women are able to achieve adequate pain control through non-medical techniques such as controlled breathing, meditation, focused relaxation and massage.
  • IV (Intravenous) Medication: Your obstetrician or midwife can order pain medication that can be administered through your IV. These medications can successfully reduce your labor pains, but seldom stop the pain entirely. Some women have adequate pain control for delivery with only IV medications. These medications must be given carefully as they can sedate both you and your baby if given to close to your delivery.
  • Regional Blocks: These blocks are more commonly known as epidurals or spinals. Epidurals are more commonly used for labor and vaginal deliveries. Placement of an epidural catheter allows medication to be given for pain relief for as long as necessary. They can also be used to provide excellent anesthesia should a C-section become necessary. Spinals are rarely used for your labor but may be used if a complication called a “wet tap” occurs. Spinal anesthesia is typically used for elective C-sections.

 

Administering an Epidural

A patient can receive her epidural as soon as your obstetrician and yourself are committed to having your baby during your hospitalization. If everyone is committed, then it is never too early to receive your epidural. If you delay your decision, then you may not receive an effective epidural or may not be allowed to get an epidural. Your OB nurse under the direction of the obstetrician or midwife will work with you to determine the best time to request an epidural. Your epidural will be placed and managed by the anesthesia department.

 

Please refer to our animated narrative that demonstrates how an epidural or spinal would be administered to you. Once the epidural is secured in place we will attach the catheter to a pump that continuously administers a small amount of anesthetic that will maintain the pain relief.

 

Your Comfort Level

We know that every patient has a different pain tolerance. The goal of the anesthesia staff is to maximize each patient’s pain relief while providing a safe delivery for your baby. An optimized epidural will allow you to still feel your contractions but remain virtually pain free. This allows you enough muscle function to push when the time comes to deliver your baby. Occasionally, epidurals have to have additional medicine given through the catheter to help with your pain relief. Rarely, we may have to replace your epidural if it is ineffective in controlling your pain.

 

Risks of Regional Anesthesia

As you are probably aware all medical procedures carry with them a certain degree of risk. Please refer to the anesthesia consent found on our website to review pertinent risks to regional anesthesia. Even though special precautions are taken by our physicians and crnas to minimize the risk associated with carrying out regional blocks, there is still a minimal amount of risk to you that still remains. Complications do not occur often and rarely lead to significant problems for the mother and baby. Our anesthesia team will discuss these risks with you and try to answer any other questions you might have at any time.

 

Anesthesia for C-sections

We deliver the anesthesia for your C-section through several means. Most times we provide the anesthesia for your scheduled C-section with a spinal block. The spinal block is similar to an epidural. Please refer to our animated narrative that demonstrates how a spinal would be administered to you. A spinal is different from an epidural in that a spinal is a single injection in your lower back without the use of a catheter and the medicine is administered in a different place in your back. If you have been laboring with an epidural and you need to have a C-section, then we will utilize your epidural for the anesthesia. Rarely, you may need to have an emergency C-section or have a reason why we can’t use a regional technique, then you may receive a general anesthetic where you have to go to sleep for the procedure.

 

Questions

The physicians of American Anesthesiology are always available to answer any questions you might have concerning your anesthetic needs for your delivery. Your obstetrician can arrange a consultation with us if necessary. American Anesthesiology and its physicians look forward to helping you with a safe and comfortable delivery.

 

American Anesthesiology Associates of Virginia

1001 Sam Perry Blvd
Fredericksburg, VA 22401 (view map)

 

Office Phone: (540) 741-7614

Fax: (540) 741-7615

 

Billing Inquiries:

Dates of service prior to 4/18/14:
Call (800) 464-6075*

Dates of service 4/18/14 and after:
Call (888) 280-9533*

 

*In order to expedite your inquiries to our billing department, please have your account number available.