However, some women had lower blood counts and shivering after Caesarean section (C-section) with general anaesthesia and some experienced more nausea and vomiting with regional anaesthesia. But, “we found no evidence to suggest that one form of anaesthesia was superior to the other for Caesarean section, when comparing general with regional anaesthesia, in terms of major outcomes such as the well being of the baby,” said lead author Dr. Bosede B. Afolabi, a senior lecturer and consultant at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the College of Medicine/Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria.

For the review, the authors analysed sixteen randomised controlled trials involving 1586 women who had given birth by C-section. The women had received either regional or general anaesthesia. Multiple newborn outcome measures were considered in the review, including neonatal death, Apgar scores, umbilical pH, neonatal adaptive capacity scores and need for oxygen by mask or intubation.

Outcome measures involving the mother included maternal death, differences in hematocrit or haemoglobin levels (both measures of anaemia) before and after C-section, incidence of postoperative wound infection, intra-operative pain, and satisfaction with the anaesthetic technique used.

Both Afolabi and Lockwood agree that this review is not likely to change patterns of practice of physicians delivering babies by Caesarean section and that it is largely the preference of the woman — to remain awake during the birth of her child or not — as well as due consideration of her medical condition that should determine whether her physician provides regional or general anaesthesia during her C-section.; Source: Health Behavior News Service