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  Pain relief - General Anaesthetic
I am so afraid of hospitals and the idea of a general anaesthetic is really worrying me. Why might my doctor resort to this?

Now that an epidural is such a safe and accepted method of pain relief during labour and birth, the general aneasthetic is used mainly for emergencies. The fact that it can be administered within minutes makes it an excellent solution if the baby shows sudden signs of distress or another serious problem crops up. Although the general anaesthetic is stressful for the body, and you may wake up feeling unwell and confused, this may be a small price to pay for a healthy baby and mother. Your baby will probably escape most of the effects of the medication because the baby is usually removed so quickly from the mother’s body after the medication is administered, that little or none of the medication reaches the baby. You might also be given oxygen during the operation to assist the baby and help reduce the medication’s effects. The problem of not eating during labour in case you need a general anaesthetic, has been largely discarded. It is better for the baby if you do not fast, and there are ways for the doctors to reduce the danger of general anaesthetic without an empty stomach.

One of the best ways to reassure yourself is to talk this over with your doctor. Instead of being afraid of a general anaeasthetic, try to tell yourself that the fact that such a procedure is possible in this day and age is extremely reassuring and means that your doctor has the means to deal with whatever situation could arise. You are safer because of it, and the likelihood of needing it is small.

See also:

Pain Relief - Discussion

Pain Relief - Effect on Baby

Pain Relief - Epidural

Pain Relief - Other than Medication

Pain Relief - Some Reasons

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