Thursday, October 22, 2020

Risks Of Using General Anesthesia In Labor


General anesthesia is the total loss of the body sensitivity and it is generally used in the cases requiring emergency surgery or when the local anesthesia is not possible. In addition, the general anesthesia is used in painful body explorations in order to make the patient feel more comfortable with the procedure.

General anesthesia is achieved by using different anesthetics that can be administered respiratory, digestive or intravenous and it involves the total loss of consciousness.

How It Works

The General anesthesia comprises three types of actions on the body:

1. Narcosis or unconsciousness (deep sleep) that is obtained by administering an inhaled anesthetic agent (nitrous oxide or halogenated agents) or intravenously (Diprivan, ketamine, barbiturates);

2. The disappearance of pain (analgesia) which is due to analgesics substances (fentanyl)

3. The administration of a paralyzant for the muscle relaxation which allows the intervention to take place without problems.

Pregnant woman taking anesthesia in labor

The general anesthesia is rarely used in the birth process, as the mother’s active presence is essential for a birth without complications to the fetus. There are still situations where the physician is forced to opt for a general anesthesia for childbirth:

  • in case of an emergency caesarean section when the rapid loss of consciousness and sensitivity is necessary
  • in cases where an epidural anesthesia or the spinal block can not be used
  • when the mother can not tolerate a local anesthetic
  • the benefits in the case of general anesthesia are much lower than the risks of surgery

The first of the general anesthesia is the intravenous administration of a paralyzing drug. It makes the patient relaxed and semi-conscious.

Then she inhales an anesthetic agent that causes a complete loss of consciousness. An endotracheal tube is inserted into the trachea to keep the airway open in order to manage the anesthetic, it also to helps the body to breathe because general anesthesia reduces the body’s ability to breathe by its own. An unconscious person may vomit; therefore, the tube fulfills one more function, namely, to stop the inhalation of the regurgitated material.

The general anesthesia has more disadvantages than the local anesthesia because it affects the nervous system of both mother and child. In the general anesthesia, the mother will sleep throughout the intervention and in turn, the baby will be sleepy.

Some studies indicate that the percentage of women who died at birth due to the general anesthesia is at least, double, than that caused by the local anesthesia.

The most serious complication that can occur after the general anesthesia, for the mother, is the aspiration pneumonia caused by inhaling food particles or gastric juice. The aspiration pneumonia is a very serious disease because it can result in permanent brain damage. Other complications for the mothers who were under the general anesthesia can be vomiting, nausea, hypotension, dizziness.

For the child, the biggest problem that occurs in the general anesthesia is the poor blood irrigation. To prevent the fetus from being sedated because of the general anesthesia of their mothers, the anesthesia is done in the last minute and the babies are removed quickly so that anesthesia does not have time to get into their blood.

Gloria Brown
Women's health and wellness retreat leader providing vacations and trips for women to get in shape -- and stay that way! On you can find my articles about weight loss, health and women's issues. Please feel free to contact me on

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