Stanford University anesthesiologists from the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital provide analgesia and anesthesia to 5,000 women who deliver in the Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services each year. Anesthesiologists in the Division of Obstetric Anesthesia offer expertise in obstetric anesthesia, are involved in the management of high-risk pregnancies and are available for pre-delivery consultation. Stanford University faculty anesthesiologists are available in the hospital 24 hours a day to provide care for obstetric patients.
The philosophy of the team is oriented towards offering pregnant women choices regarding pain relief during labor and towards making the labor experience as natural and normal as possible. For labor analgesia we emphasize epidural and spinal techniques that minimize motor block so that women have the ability to push well in the second stage of labor. For the maintenance of our labor block we used patient controlled epidural pain relief. This gives women the choice of how much of anesthetic agent to give themselves. Many women can walk or sit in a chair after they have received epidural analgesia.
If Cesarean section proves necessary, we emphasize regional techniques (spinals and epidurals) so mothers can be awake and alert to participate in the births of their babies. Our anesthesiologists also provide postoperative pain relief with special techniques that minimize drug dosage and enable the mother to become mobile more quickly and nurse and care for her baby.
You can learn more about pain relief options at a Birth Center Orientation class for parents. Your doctor may also ask that you view some important information using an online education program called Emmi® to prepare you for your labor and delivery. This program takes about 20 minutes and will help you understand your anesthesia choices and let you know what to expect the day of your procedure.
Our clinical research studies in obstetrical anesthesia have resulted in many advances in obstetric anesthesia and improvements in the safety of pain relief techniques. We may invite you to participate in some studies and appreciate your time and energy in helping us advance our field.