Labor pain and its management with the combined spinal-epidural analgesia: what does an obstetrician need to know?

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Most women rate pain of childbirth as the most painful experience of their lives. Lumbar epidural analgesia is widely considered as the most effective method of providing pain relief in labor. However, lumbar epidural analgesia for labor is not a standard (generic) procedure and many technical modifications have been developed and introduced into clinical practice over time. The combined spinal-epidural labor analgesia technique (CSEA) has attained wide spread popularity in obstetric anesthesia worldwide. The onset of analgesia is rapid and reliable, and maternal satisfaction is very high. While there still remains some concern about dural puncture, and while the pros and cons of using the CSEA as opposed to traditional epidural for labor pain are still being debated, it appears certain that the CSEA technique offers many unique advantages to the pregnant woman.

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