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A 30-year-old member asked:

is it safe to have general anesthesia during my c-section?

9 doctor answers36 doctors weighed in
Dr. Megan Bird
Obstetrics and Gynecology 19 years experience
Yes: General anesthesia is riskier than spinal or epidural anesthesia for a cesarean. Which is right for you depends on why you are having a c-section and the other medical conditions you have. In some cases, general anesthesia is the safest method. If you are concerned and have time, ask to talk to an anesthesiologist before surgery to go over the specific risks for you.
Dr. Boris Aronzon
Anesthesiology 24 years experience
Elective csection usually performed under regional anesthesia. General is exception, based on unic medical cercumstances: low platelets, prior spine surgery, debilitated patient, etc
Sep 26, 2013
Dr. Sheila Goodman
Specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Yes: It is safe to have general anesthesia for a c/s but it is better to have spinal. There is less risk, less nausea, less pain right after and the medication doesn't go to the baby. Plus, the mother gets to see her baby right after it is born.
Dr. Ernesto Pretto jr.
Anesthesiology 44 years experience
Get to know your anesthesia provider. He/she will assist you in deciding what is the best approach for your anesthetic and will keep you safe before, during and after the procedure.
Aug 23, 2013
Dr. Sheila Goodman
Specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology
No: If the mother has certain problems with infection, blood clotting or brain disorders, spinal or epidural may be more dangerous than general anesthesia.
Dr. Clifford Gevirtz
Anesthesiology 40 years experience
There is a lot of decision making behind the choice of anesthesia for a c-section. Big issues are: Is it an emergency Previous back surgery Bleeding problems Weight of the mother
Jul 15, 2013
Dr. Ernesto Pretto jr.
Anesthesiology 44 years experience
Get to know your anesthesia doctor. He/she will assist you in deciding what is the best approach for your anesthetic and will keep you safe before, during and after the procedure.
Aug 23, 2013
Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology 30 years experience
Prefer regional: There are specific concerns with the pregnant patient that would make an anesthesiologist prefer a regional anesthetic for a c-section. Please discuss this with your anesthesiologist before proceeding.
Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
Anesthesiology 29 years experience
General anesthesia: Is not the first choice for anesthesia during C-section given the increased risks it creates for the mother and the medications it delivers to the baby immediately prior to deliver. However, there are circumstances that make it the best choice including patient related medical issues. Discuss this with your OB and get an anesthesia consult.
Dr. James Henning
Anesthesiology 50 years experience
GA can be very safe: Although, as other mds have underscored, regional anesthesia (spinal or epidural) is the preferred choice in non-emergent scenarios. Mothers can experience the delivery while awake, many protective "reflexes" remain intact, and unnecessary risks for mother and baby are avoided. That said, in emergent or specific cases, ga is required and in experienced hands is extremely safe.
Dr. Irina Kovatch
General Surgery 14 years experience
Has risks: Regional anesthesia (RA) has a better safety profile for the mother and is preferred over general anesthesia (ga). Ga has a 17-fold higher complication rate than RA - difficult and failed intubation 8 times, low oxygen levels 3 times, aspiration, low blood pressure, increased risk of maternal mortality, and neonate effects (baby may need to be intubated because anesthetic agents cross placenta).
Dr. David Kinsman
Anesthesiology 20 years experience
Yes.: All surgeries have certain risks. Talk with your anesthesiology physician and together work out a plan that manages your risks and maximizes benefits of the anesthetic. Sometimes in an emergency, there is only enough time to have a general anesthetic.
Dr. Vivian Hernandez-popp
Anesthesiology 28 years experience
Yes: A c-section can be done under general or regional anesthesia.

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Last updated Oct 4, 2016

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