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Cesarean Anesthesia (C-Section)

Various factors influence the choice of anesthesia for a Caesarean section, but they are usually done under epidural or spinal anesthesia. You are numb from the level of the nipple line down, but will remain awake during the birth of your baby and your partner may be present.

If your baby needs to be delivered quickly due to an emergency situation or if epidural or spinal anesthesia is not adequate, general anesthesia may be necessary.

If an epidural catheter is already in place and you require a Cesarean section, you will simply receive a stronger dose of local anesthetic through your catheter. If you are scheduled for an elective Cesarean delivery or if a Cesarean delivery becomes necessary before you have epidural or spinal pain relief, four options are available:
  1. epidural anesthesia
  2. spinal anesthesia
  3. combined spinal-epidural anesthesia or
  4. general anesthesia (read more)
We usually do not use spinal anesthesia alone, because it is advantageous to have an epidural catheter in place to deliver pain medication after the surgery. General anesthesia is normally used only in emergency situations when there is insufficient time to perform regional anesthesia or if you have a condition that prevents use of a spinal or epidural anesthetic.

After a Cesarean you will routinely receive a medication called Duramorph through your epidural catheter that will give you pain relief for more than 24 hours. You may also get medication to control your pain through your IV or by mouth.
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