Having spent the last 30 years of my medical career working as an obstetric anesthesiologist on labor and delivery units, it is possible that I have interacted with my obstetric colleagues as often as my anesthesiology colleagues! Over the years, I have learned that we can provide, along with our L&D nurses, the best patient care as a team, and that we have much to teach each other and to learn from each other. With that background, it is such an honor to be asked to edit this edition of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, providing updates on topics of interest that our specialties share. In addition, it allows me to feature a group of anesthesiologists who also spend their professional lives working on labor and delivery units, practicing obstetric anesthesia as part of a team with you, their obstetric colleagues. The topics range from nonepidural labor analgesia options and management of the opioid-tolerant parturient, to managing complications such as sepsis, hemorrhage and cardiac arrest, to medicolegal liability in modern obstetric anesthesia practice. I hope these articles will enhance our communication and contribute to understanding those age-old questions, “What are they thinking and why are they doing that?!” The American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Practice Guidelines for Obstetric Anesthesia state: “…a communication system should be in place to encourage early and ongoing contact between obstetric providers, anesthesiologists, and other members of the multidisciplinary team.” I offer these articles as a starting place.
I would like to thank my obstetric anesthesiology colleagues who were willing to take on yet another project, volunteering their time to contribute thoughtful and well-referenced chapters. They agree that good interpersonal and interprofessional relations between obstetricians and anesthesiologists are imperative, and that our skills complement each other. Their expertise and interest in obstetric anesthesia is obvious. Each specialty has its areas of proficiency, but we all have as our ultimate goal a safe outcome for mother and baby.