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Spinal Block

The spinal or “saddle” block is injected into the lower part of the back in a single dose. It provides relief in the lower abdomen, legs and birth canal. Because a spinal block can stall labor and may need to be re-injected, it is only given in the second stage of labor when the birth of the baby is imminent. It may also be the choice of anesthesia for a cesarean birth.

General Anesthesia

This type of anesthesia is not administered to a patient who is laboring. It is a systemic anesthetic and affects the whole body. It has similar effects on the baby. General anesthesia is used for cesarean births in emergency situations where time is a factor.

It is also used for mothers who need a cesarean but have some history of back problems and can’t receive an epidural or spinal for the procedure. An anesthesiologist administers the general anesthetic through the IV. You are unconscious and feel no pain after the medication is given. An endotracheal tube is placed down your windpipe and the anesthesiologist “breathes” for you during the procedure. Once the baby is delivered and the uterus and the abdomen are closed, the anesthesiologist reverses the effect of the medication and brings you out of the anesthesia. You will often be groggy for a short time after the procedure. You may also experience a sore throat due to the endotracheal tube for a day or 2 after surgery.

B I RTH – The Second Stage

Up to this point you have been cooperating with your contractions and dealing with them the best that you can. You may have chosen pain medication, an epidural, or have done well with your breathing and relaxation techniques. You may have the “shakes” and feel sick to your stomach. At times you may feel that you cannot go on. Your nurse checks you and says, “It’s time to push!” These words will be like music to your ears. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Even though you labored for some time, somehow you find the inner strength and energy to push with your contractions and get your baby delivered.

Pushing for first-time mothers can take 2 to 3 hours but usually much less for mothers who have already given birth. Even though you went to classes and were given information on the proper techniques for pushing, you really did not practice for the hard work involved. Some women hold back because of the fear of what else will come out

besides the baby! It will just take that much longer if you don’t start pushing effectively from the start. Your nurse will be there to offer suggestions and change your position if needed. She is literally your cheerleader. The support person is also very important to you as they count during the contractions and give never-ending encouragement. It is not uncommon for the support person and everyone else in the room to be pushing right along with you. Everyone is working together as a team as the excitement of this great event heightens.

Pressure of the baby’s head

on the rectum

The Gift of Motherhood – your personal journey through prepared childbirth 60

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