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What are risks of general anesthesia during labor?

A major risk during general anesthesia in labor is caused by food or liquids in the woman's stomach. Labor can cause undigested food to stay in the stomach. During unconsciousness, this food could come back into the mouth and go into the lungs where it can cause damage. To avoid this, you are usually told not to eat or drink once labor has started. If you need general anesthesia, your anesthesiologist will place a breathing tube into your mouth and windpipe after you are asleep. If you are having a cesarean delivery, you also will be given an antacid to reduce stomach acid. In most cases, clear fluids are allowed during labor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.