There are various types of anaesthesia available for a Caesarean section. Prior to a Caesarean your anaesthetist will assess you and discuss the best option for you. This usually occurs on the day of your Caesarean section. However, if you have had previous problems with anaesthetics, medical problems or specific concerns or questions, you can make an appointment to see your anaesthetist prior to your delivery date. Please call our office on (08) 8236 5000 to make an appointment.
The following information is of a general nature.
There are four types of anaesthesia available for Caesarean section:
Both epidural and spinal anaesthesia allow the mother to be awake for the delivery.
Awareness of surgery: both spinal and epidural anaesthesia numb the lower half of the mother’s body to pain sensation. Different nerves carry the sensation of touch and are often not completely blocked. Therefore, mothers will often experience a sensation of pulling or touching by the surgeon but not any associated pain. This is normal and not an indication the anaesthetic is inadequate in any way. However, if you feel discomfort or pain it is important to advise your anaesthetist so they can assess you and decide how best to manage this.
Headache: As with an epidural for childbirth, spinal and epidural anaesthesia for Caesarean section may cause a headache.
Common Side Effects
General Anaesthesia for Caesarean Section can cause the same common side effects as for other types of surgery including, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, dry mouth and drowsiness. Bruising can also occur at the site of the intravenous injections but usually settles quickly.
Regurgitation and inhalation of gastric contents: is where the stomach contents are brought up into the back of the throat and then inhaled into the lungs during the GA. It is important to fast for some time prior to your anaesthetic. There are many steps your anaesthetist can take to minimise this risk to you.
Awareness of surgery: is where you can become conscious during the operation and remember things that happened during this time. This is most likely to result from receiving too little anaesthetic. With advances in monitoring and equipment the risk of awareness has become extremely low.
Difficult Airway: Pregnancy can cause difficulties in managing the airway. Your anaesthetist will assess this risk prior to anaesthetic.
Rare Side Effects
General Anaesthetic has a very small risk of severe allergic reactions. It is important to advise your anaesthetist of any known allergies to medications or rubber (latex) products.