Overview of anesthetic considerations for Cesarean delivery

Br Med Bull. 2012;101:105-25. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldr050. Epub 2012 Jan 4.


Introduction: Physiologic changes of pregnancy uniquely influence anesthesia for Cesarean delivery. Included is a review of current obstetrical anesthesia considerations for Cesarean delivery and recent changes improving maternal care and outcome.

Sources of data: A literature review was conducted using Pubmed and the Cochrane database.

Areas of agreement and controversy: Increased use of neuraxial techniques instead of general anesthesia for Cesarean delivery has improved maternal safety. Recent changes in the prevention of gastric aspiration, hypotension from neuraxial techniques, venous thrombosis and a team approach have improved maternal care. Elective Cesarean deliveries and management of urgent deliveries are areas of discussion.

Areas timely for developing research: Obstetric anesthesia advances have improved maternal outcomes. Current areas of needed obstetric anesthesia research include improved obese patient care, the impact of anticoagulation on neuraxial techniques in pregnancy, long-term neurocognitive effects of neonatal exposure to anesthesia and postoperative pain management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Conduction / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, Conduction / methods
  • Anesthesia, Conduction / mortality
  • Anesthesia, General / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, General / methods
  • Anesthesia, General / mortality
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / mortality
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Decision Trees
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy