Spinal anesthesia (spinal block) is similar to epidural anesthesia,
except the anesthetic is injected in a single dose into the fluid around the
spinal cord. A spinal block may also be called a saddle block. It numbs
the area that would come into contact with the saddle of a horse.
Like an epidural catheter, a spinal block must be administered by an
anesthesia specialist. Spinal anesthesia causes complete loss of feeling and muscle
control below the waist. It is usually used only for an assisted delivery (such
cesarean section or a delivery with
forceps). Most women cannot push effectively
after a spinal block.
The benefit of a spinal block is that it works quickly. But the
side effects may include lowering of the mother's blood pressure during
delivery, occasional headache after delivery, and temporary urinary difficulty.
Infection at the injection site is a rare complication.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMarch 16, 2017
Current as of:
March 16, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017