Expectant mothers who are to undergo planned Cesarean sections must discuss options of anesthesia during ante natal care, Dr Francis Ahiaku, an anesthesiologist at the Trust Hospital in Accra has advised.

This is necessary since it affords expectant mothers the opportunity to understand the procedure, its consequences and implications of their choices in order that they will be appropriately guided as to which option is best, given their peculiarities. This also affords the anesthesiologist proper planning for the anesthesia.

Dr Ahiaku, in an interview with myjoyonline.com, explained that anesthesia is done to eliminate sensation, including pain during surgery and cesarean operation. The type of anesthesia for any cesarean section will depend on its indications which include a patient’s request.

Dr Ahiaku said Cesarean sections may be conducted for various reasons. The following could be some of them;

-When the baby is too big for the birthpath of the mother

-When the baby lies in an abnormal position, oblique or transverse

-When the lives of mother and baby are in jeopardy

-When the mother has a history of previous cesarean sections, and

-At the request of a mother who is scared of delivering through the normal means

There are three types of anesthesia that may be used for a cesarean section, according to emedtv.com; and these include epidural, spinal and general anesthetics.

Epidural and Spinal blocks are regional anesthesia – facilitated by blocking pain and other sensations over a region (part) of the body, but not all of it. Both usually cause complete loss of sensation in the lower part of the body.

For an epidural block, the lower back is washed with a special disinfectant solution. Then the anesthesiologist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area of insertion. A tiny, flexible, plastic tube, called an epidural catheter, is inserted into the lower back and taped into position. A local anesthetic drug is injected through the catheter to induce anesthesia. After the surgery, a weaker concentration of the local anesthetic drug is used through the same catheter to control pain.

Spinal anesthesia is given by injecting local anesthetic drug into the spinal fluid through the lower back. A spinal block will often take effect more quickly than an epidural block. It is usually given as a single shot therefore does not allow prolonged pain control.

A General anesthesia is another option for a cesarean section and this type of anesthesia can affect the baby, so spinal and epidural blocks are the preferred methods for cesarean sections.

General anesthesia puts the expectant mother into a deep sleep so she does not feel any pain, pressure, or movement during the cesarean section. In order to do this, the mother would first be asked to breathe oxygen through an oxygen mask. After she is put in a deep sleep, a breathing tube will be placed into her windpipe to assist with her breathing throughout the session. As the operation is being done, the deep sleep is maintained by anesthetic gases going through the patient’s lungs.

Dr Ahiaku however insists that for every anesthesia, there is always a risk and that mothers should do well to ask questions during their meeting with the anesthesiologist.

emedtv.com also advices women to ensure they tell the anesthesiologist about any allergies or health conditions they may have to help the anesthesia care team know how to take care of them during the procedure, especially if they will need any special attention.

“Ours is to explain the anesthesia options, their pros and cons and what the patient wants is what will be done, Dr Ahiaku concluded, emphasizing: “Give them the options and let them make a choice.”

Story by Dorcas Efe Mensah/myjoyonline.com/Ghana


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