Information for Patients
If you are having surgery, your doctor will give you medicine called an anesthetic. Anesthetics reduce or prevent pain. There are three main types:
- Local - numbs one small area of the body. You stay awake and alert.
- Regional - blocks pain in an area of the body, such an arm or leg. A common type is epidural anesthesia, which is often used during childbirth.
- General - makes you unconscious. You do not feel any pain, and you do not remember the procedure afterwards.
You may also get a mild sedative to relax you. You stay awake but may not remember the procedure afterwards. Sedation can be used with or without anesthesia.
The type of anesthesia or sedation you get depends on many factors. They include the procedure you are having and your current health.
While childbirth usually goes well, complications can happen. They can cause a risk to the mother, baby, or both. Possible complications include
- Preterm (premature) labor, when labor starts before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy
- Problems with the umbilical cord
- Problems with the position of the baby, such as breech, in which the baby is going to come out feet first
- Birth injuries
For some of these problems, the baby may need to be delivered surgically by a Cesarean section.