Obstetric Anesthesia

Your Comfort, 24/7

Dedicated To Safety

Holy Cross Anesthesiology Associates provides anesthesia services to women in our labor and delivery unit. An attending physician anesthesiologist is dedicated to the care of mothers in our labor and delivery unit 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

epidural

Safe & Effective

Medical advances have made epidural and spinal anesthesia safe and effective. For labor, we use a continuous epidural. With this method, anesthetics are infused during the course of labor through an epidural catheter placed in your lower back. A computerized pump provides anesthetic medications until delivery.

If a cesarean section is needed, the epidural catheter placed for labor can be used to provide more anesthesia. The anesthesiologist also may give a combined spinal-epidural. This method administers a small dose of anesthetic into the spinal space at the time of epidural placement. Spinal anesthesia without an epidural is our preferred technique for elective cesarean sections or if our patient does not have an epidural for labor.

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We Guard Your Safety

Possible Side Effects

Though rarely serious, you may experience the following side effects:

  • Lower blood pressure – Your blood pressure will tend to be lower. Your anesthesiologist and nurse will monitor your blood pressure closely. They can easily manage these changes. Lower blood pressure will be helpful to patients with high blood pressure from pregnancy.
  • Lower fetal heart rate – The fetal heart rate may decrease right after the procedure is completed. Almost always, these changes are not serious and go away in a few minutes.
  • Shivering – Shivering is common during labor and has many contributing causes.
  • Itching – You may experience some itching. This is not an allergic reaction. It will go away shortly after a vaginal birth and by 24 hours after a cesarean section.

Possible Complications

As with general anesthesia, there are risks involved that could affect the health of the mother and baby. These complications are rare. Most often, they respond to the treatment provided by your anesthesiologist and obstetrician.

  • Headache – You may experience a headache when you stand that is not present with lying down. The frequency of a headache from epidurals and spinals administered by anesthesiologists is low. Less than five out of 100 patients get this type of headache.
  • Back pain – Back pain is common during pregnancy and after labor and childbirth. Mothers with preexisting back problems may have increased back discomfort after pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Significant back pain from epidurals or spinals is uncommon. In fact, epidural injections are a common treatment for severe back pain.
  • Nerve injury – Both temporary and permanent nerve injury from epidurals or spinals is extremely rare. Rare problems with loss of sensation or strength in the legs are more likely related to pushing during childbirth, the passage of the baby through the birth canal, or lower back disc problems.
  • Need for emergency cesarean section – Rarely, serious changes in breathing or blood pressure after epidurals will result in the need for an emergency cesarean section.

Always

By Your Side

You will begin to feel more comfortable just 10 to 15 minutes after your epidural. The epidural will continue to manage your pain throughout labor. 

To help control labor pain, our epidurals provide you with some control over how much epidural medication you receive. This is called patient-controlled epidural analgesia or PCEA. It allows you to self-administer additional epidural medication at safe doses and controlled time intervals.

  • 1 If you are feeling too much discomfort, there is a button you can push that will give you additional epidural pain medication.
  • 2 After you push the button, it will take about 10 minutes to notice an effect.
  • 3 The epidural pump is set-up so you can receive three extra doses each hour, as long as each button push is ten minutes apart.
by-your-side

INFORMATION FOR

EXPECTING MOTHERS

At Holy Cross Hospital, we have an anesthesiologist devoted solely to our mothers in labor, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Below is a copy of our "Dear Mom" letter, given to each patient upon her arrival here at Holy Cross.

Dear Mom:

This letter provides information about pain control during labor and delivery or cesarean section. Please carefully read this information.

Holy Cross Anesthesiology Associates, a private practice of physician anesthesiologists, provides anesthesia services to women in our labor and delivery unit. An attending physician anesthesiologist is dedicated to the care of mothers in our labor and delivery unit 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Medical advances have made epidural and spinal anesthesia safe and effective. For labor, we use a continuous epidural. With this method, anesthetics are infused during the course of labor through an epidural catheter placed in your lower back. A computerized pump provides anesthetic medications until delivery. If a cesarean section is needed, the epidural catheter placed for labor can be used to provide more anesthesia. The anesthesiologist also may give a combined spinal-epidural. This method administers a small dose of anesthetic into the spinal space at the time of epidural placement. Spinal anesthesia without an epidural is our preferred technique for elective cesarean sections or if our patient does not have an epidural for labor.

SIDE EFFECTS–EPIDURAL AND SPINAL

Though rarely serious, you may experience the following side effects:

  1. Lower blood pressure – Your blood pressure will tend to be lower. Your anesthesiologist and nurse will monitor your blood pressure closely. They can easily manage these changes. The lower blood pressure will be helpful to patients with high blood pressure from pregnancy.
  2. Lower fetal heart rate – The fetal heart rate may decrease right after the procedure is completed. Almost always, these changes are not serious and go away in a few minutes.
  3. Shivering – Shivering is common during labor and has many contributing causes.
  4. Itching – You may experience some itching. This is not an allergic reaction. It will go away shortly after a vaginal birth and by 24 hours after a cesarean section.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS – EPIDURAL AND SPINAL

As with general anesthesia, there are risks involved that could affect the health of the mother and baby. These complications are rare. Most often, they respond to the treatment provided by your anesthesiologist and obstetrician.

  1. Headache – You may experience a headache when you stand that is not present with lying down. The frequency of a headache from epidurals and spinals administered by anesthesiologists is low. Less than five out of 100 patients get this type of headache.
  2. Back pain – Back pain is common during pregnancy and after labor and childbirth. Mothers with preexisting back problems may have increased back discomfort after pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Significant back pain from epidurals or spinals is uncommon. In fact, epidural injections are a common treatment for severe back pain.
  3. Nerve injury – Both temporary and permanent nerve injury from epidurals or spinals is extremely rare. Rare problems with loss of sensation or strength in the legs are more likely related to pushing during childbirth, the passage of the baby through the birth canal, or lower back disc problems.
  4. Need for emergency cesarean section – Rarely, serious changes in breathing or blood pressure after epidurals will result in the need for an emergency cesarean section.

KEY INFORMATION FOR MOM AFTER A LABOR EPIDURAL IS STARTED

  1. After the anesthesiologist finishes the epidural, do not lie completely flat on your back until delivery.
  2. You will begin to feel more comfortable within 10 to 15 minutes after the procedure.
  3. Your legs may feel a bit numb and heavy. It is common for one side of your lower body to feel less than the other. Tell your nurse or anesthesiologist if are unable to move your legs.
  4. The epidural will continue to control your pain throughout labor. As labor progresses, you may experience cramping, pressure and some discomfort.
  5. To help control labor pain, our epidurals provide you with some control of how much epidural medication you receive. This is called patient-controlled epidural analgesia or PCEA. It allows you to self-administer additional epidural medication at safe doses and controlled time intervals.
    1. If you are feeling too much discomfort, there is a button you can push that will give you additional epidural pain medication.
    2. After you push the button, it will take about 10 minutes to notice an effect.
    3. The epidural pump is set-up so you can receive three extra doses each hour, as long as each button push is ten minutes apart.
  6. Occasionally, to improve pain control, the anesthesiologist will need to repeat the epidural or spinal procedure.

An anesthesiologist is available on the labor and delivery unit to address your questions or concerns. We look forward to meeting you and participating with your care.

Sincerely,
Your Anesthesiologist on Labor and Delivery

Your anesthesiologist looks forward to

meeting & taking care of you

Before your procedure date, you may be asked or may request to make an appointment to meet with a member of our department. We may also require additional testing or evaluations in order to be able to provide the safest anesthesia care.

Immediately before your procedure, you will meet your anesthesiologist to discuss and finalize the best anesthetic plan for you. Your health, safety, and comfort are our priorities. As physicians, we are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of medical care.

careers

Our Communities

Where we Serve

HCAA currently serves our community by providing Anesthesia services to two hospitals, eight Ambulatory Service Centers, and three office locations.

Holy Cross Hospital Silver Spring

301-754-7000

1500 Forest Glen Rd
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Visit Their Website ⟶

Holy Cross Germantown Hospital

301-557-6000

19801 Observation Dr
Germantown, Maryland 20876

Visit Their Website ⟶

Rockville Surgical Suites

240-623-0033

3200 Tower Oaks Boulevard, Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20852

Visit Their Website ⟶

Innovations Surgery Center

240-669-3134

3206 Tower Oaks Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20852

Visit Their Website ⟶

Piccard Surgery Center

301-208-7350

1330 Piccard Drive, Suite 102
Rockville, MD 20850

Visit Their Website ⟶

OB-GYN Associates of Advantia

301-681-6772

Silver Spring / Rockville / Beltsville, MD

Visit Their Website ⟶

Zatezalo Eye Group

301-304-6600

6110 EXECUTIVE BLVD SUITE 615
ROCKVILLE, MD 20852

Visit Their Website ⟶

Maryland Surgery Center (Rockville)

301-761-4760

11400 Rockville Pike, Suite C25,
Rockville, MD 20852

Visit Their Website ⟶

Surgery Center of Silver Spring

301-326-2921

8710 Cameron Street, STE 100
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Visit Their Website ⟶

Center for Advanced Gynecology & Urogynecology

301-652-1231

5530 Wisconsin Ave #914
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Visit Their Website ⟶

Will Surgical Arts

301-874-1707

3280 Urbana Pike, Suite 201
Ijamsville, MD 21754

Visit Their Website ⟶

Women’s Health Specialists – An Advantia Health Practice

301-770-4967

12800 Middlebrook Road, Suite 480
Germantown, MD 20874

Visit Their Website ⟶
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