36 doctors weighed in:

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

36 doctors weighed in
Dr. Megan Bird
Obstetrics & Gynecology
15 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. Megan Bird
Dr. Megan Bird
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1 comment
Dr. Boris Aronzon
Elective csection usually performed under regional anesthesia. General is exception, based on unic medical cercumstances: low platelets, prior spine surgery, debilitated patient, etc
Dr. Sheila Goodman
Obstetrics & Gynecology
10 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. Sheila Goodman
Dr. Sheila Goodman
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1 comment
Dr. Ernesto Pretto
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.
Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
Anesthesiology
6 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
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Dr. James Henning
Anesthesiology
4 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. James Henning
Dr. James Henning
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Dr. Sheila Goodman
Obstetrics & Gynecology
4 doctors agree

In brief: No

If the mother has certain problems with infection, blood clotting or brain disorders, spinal or epidural may be more dangerous than general anesthesia.

In brief: 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. Sheila Goodman
Dr. Sheila Goodman
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2 comments
Dr. Clifford Gevirtz
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
Dr. Ernesto Pretto
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.
3 doctors agree

In brief: 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).

In brief: 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. Irina Kovatch
Dr. Irina Kovatch
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Dr. Vivian Hernandez-popp
Anesthesiology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

A c-section can be done under general or regional anesthesia.

In brief: Yes

A c-section can be done under general or regional anesthesia.
Dr. Vivian Hernandez-popp
Dr. Vivian Hernandez-popp
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Dr. David Kinsman
Anesthesiology
2 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. David Kinsman
Dr. David Kinsman
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Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology
2 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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. Richard Pollard
Dr. Richard Pollard
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