1 minute read


Types Of Anesthesia

Two types of anesthesia are commonly used during labor and birth. In general anesthesia, the mother is given drugs that put her to sleep, but this type of anesthesia is rarely used today, since the drugs can depress the fetal heart beat. In regional anesthesia, drugs are injected to deaden sensation around the spinal nerves that carry sensations from the pelvic region. Controversy about whether these drugs affect the fetus is ongoing, although some kinds of regional anesthesia affect the fetus less than others.



Bean, Constance A. Methods of Childbirth. 2nd ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1990.

Karmel, Marjorie. Thank You, Dr. Lamaze. New York: Harper and Row, 1993.

Knobil, Ernst, and Jimmy D. Neill, eds. The Physiology of Reproduction. 2nd ed. New York: Raven Press, 1994.

Korte, Diana. The VBAC Companion: The Expectant Mother's Guide to Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Common Press, 1999.

Mitford, Jessica. The American Way of Birth. New York: Dutton, 1992.

Moore, Michele, and Caroline De Costa. Cesarean Section: Understanding and Celebrating Your Baby's Birth. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Medical Press, 2003.


"Deciding to Be Born." Discover 13 (May 10, 1992).

Fischman, Joshua. "Putting a New Spin on the Birth of Human Birth." Science 264 (20 May 1994): 1082.

Ventura, S.J. "Births: Final Data for 1999." Service Today 49, no. (2001): 1-100.

Kathleen Scogna


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Amniotic fluid

—The fluid in which the fetus "floats" in the uterus.

Amniotic sac

—The sac that contains the amniotic fluid.


—The period of carrying developing offspring in the uterus after conception; pregnancy.


—The strong, rhythmic contractions of the uterus leading to birth.


—The organ that develops during gestation through which a fetus receives nourishment from the mother.


—A substance released by uterine cells that cause contraction of the uterus.

Umbilical cord

—The cord that attaches the fetus to the placenta.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Bilateral symmetry to Boolean algebraBirth - Viviparous Animals, Maternal Progesterone, Oxytocin, History Of Childbirth, Types Of Childbirth Preparation, Types Of Anesthesia - How does birth begin?, Fetal endocrine control, Birth in humans