Obstetric Anesthesia (Pain-Free Birthing)


The Obstetric Anesthesia Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital is recognized as one of the most advanced programs of its kind in the world. From routine births to the most complex, we are prepared to care for every mother who delivers her baby at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

In 1847, the first anesthetic was used in childbirth at the Boston Lying-In Hospital, one of the nation’s first maternity hospitals and a predecessor hospital to Brigham and Women’s. The first pain-free childbirth using regional anesthesia was reported in July of 1900.

Since then, a firm and dedicated commitment of anesthesiologists and professional societies, such as the Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP), have led to tremendous advances in regional anesthesia, providing safe, pain-free delivery when requested.

Pain-Free Childbirth: A Safe Option

New regional anesthesia techniques, a variety of newer medications and methods of administration, and dedicated obstetric anesthesia and nursing care teams have made pain-free childbirth with regional anesthesia a safe option for expectant mothers in this century.

It is fortunate that in this era, pain relief during labor and delivery is an accepted part of the childbirth process. We embrace the opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that pain relief should be given when a laboring woman requests it.

Today millions of women use epidural analgesia to deliver their babies each year. Studies show that of the various pain-relief methods available, an epidural is the most effective while allowing for an alert, participating mother in the birth.

The Benefits of Planning Ahead

It is important to consult with your care providers and get your questions adequately answered before making your final plans for childbirth.

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