Neuraxial analgesia for labor and birth: implications for mother and fetus

Judith H Poole
Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing 2003, 17 (4): 252-67
Women are better educated today on issues related to labor and childbirth. Pain management options for the woman in labor have changed dramatically over the last decade. Systemic analgesia and dense-motor-blockade regional analgesia/anesthesia have become less common for childbirth while the use of newer neuraxial and regional techniques, with minimal motor blockade, have become more popular. The shift from regional anesthesia with significant motor-blockade during labor, where the woman is a passive participant during the labor and birth, to a collaborative approach for pain management, where the woman becomes an active participant, has resulted in a new philosophy of analgesia for labor and birth. This article provides a review of current neuraxial analgesia/anesthesia techniques used for pain management in labor and birth and their implications for the perinatal nurse.

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