Anesthesia pain control is a very important part of the labor and delivery process. An anesthesiologist from Northwest Suburban Anesthesiologists will work very closely with your obstetrician and labor and delivery nurses to provide you the most state of the art pain control options available. Safety of both you and your baby is our top priority, and our pain management options are designed with this in mind. Therefore, NCH's Anesthesia Department has obstetrics-dedicated anesthesiologist available around the clock, every day of the year!
Epidural pain control has been used for many years in obstetrics. It is a safe and effective way to manage labor-induced pain without sedating you and your baby, unlike intravenous narcotic medications. PCEA involves the placement of a small, flexible tube in your back, below the level of the spinal cord. This tube is used to continuously infuse local anesthetic (numbing medicine), directly targeting the pain fibers involved with childbirth. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes to place, and discomfort is similar to having an IV placed in your hand.
Here at NCH, we go a step further and allow you to actively participate in your pain control. If you choose PCEA to help manage your labor and delivery pain, you are given a push button, which when pressed, provides an extra dose of numbing medicine. Studies have shown this method to greatly improve pain control, and safety measures prevent you from over medicating yourself. Overall, mothers are very satisfied with this pain control option.
In the event you require a C-section, the anesthesiologist will be with you throughout the entire process. While no two C-sections are alike, most mothers are able to remain conscious during the procedure, except in emergency situations or special circumstances. The anesthesiologist will do all they can to make sure you are awake and actively participating in the birth of your child.
If you already have an epidural in place from laboring, the anesthesiologist simply needs to administer additional numbing medicine through the flexible epidural catheter in your back. This process is entirely painless, and in approximately 15 minutes, you will be numb from just below you breasts down to your toes.
If an epidural is not already in place, a one-time spinal injection will deliver the numbing medicine necessary for the C-section. This procedure is similar to an epidural, except no plastic tube is left in your back.
Once your laboring partner is by your side, the C-section will begin.
Northwest Suburban Anesthesiologists at NCH offer two types of highly effective pain control options for mothers after C-section procedures.
Duramorph is a preservative-free opioid drug known as morphine. It has been used as medicinal pain control for over a century. When given intravenously, it can sometimes cause nausea, vomiting and itching. To minimize these side effects, we administer this medication directly through your epidural catheter or as a one-time spinal injection. This allows us to deliver the medication in dosages hundreds of times less than what is required intravenously with the same result.
In just a few hours after your C-section, you are able to walk around with your baby with minimal discomfort. The effects of the drug last 24 hours, at which point your obstetrician will start pain medications by mouth.
Transversus Abdominis Plane Block is a newer option for post-C-section pain control. It involves no narcotic medications, but instead uses only numbing medications similar to the medications used in the epidural process. At the end of the C-section, while your abdomen is still completely numb, the anesthesiologist will perform two injections on either side of your abdomen. The injections deposit numbing medication with the help of ultrasound imaging, and are completely painless. The effects of the numbing medication last 24 hours, at which point your obstetrician will start pain medications by mouth.
Both options provide excellent pain relief, and at NCH, we let you decide which option is right for you.