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Keywords:

  • obstetric anesthesia;
  • obstetric history;
  • regional anesthesia;
  • pharmacology

This article is a review of analgesics and anesthetics offered to laboring women, including intravenous drugs, epidural and spinal agents, and inhalational anesthetics. An overview of the uses, risks, and benefits is provided for each anesthetic alternative. To provide the most effective care to women in labor, clinicians have a responsibility to have current knowledge of the best evidence for safety and efficacy of these pharmacologic agents and techniques and be able to effectively communicate this information to clients.