Anaesthesia in Obstetrics
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Anaesthesia for obstetrical cases is regarded by the general practitioner and occasionally even by the anaesthetist with great respect and a certain amount of fear; and rightly so, for in the hands of an inexperienced practitioner grave complications may occur to either the mother, the baby, or both. These difficulties do not arise when the anaesthetic is administered before the onset of labour, but once labour has become well established in the second stage, the anaesthetic becomes a more serious undertaking, and a certain amount of skill is required of the anaesthetist, together with a basic knowledge of the pharmacological and physiological properties of the various agents employed in anaesthesia. This article will not deal with the subject of analgesia in obstetrics but with anaesthesia for the more major obstetrical operations, and will, it is trusted, be of some guidance to those practitioners who may be landed with an obstetrical emergency and must administer an anaesthetic to a patient who is, more often than not, wholly unprepared for such administration, having just partaken of a meal, or whose stomach is full of glucose water which is so unfailingly given to women throughout labour!