There are now many large and authoritative texts on obstetric anaesthesia and
analgesia available to the anaesthetic trainee. With reduced time available for
obstetric anaesthetic training, we feel there is a need for a shorter, more practically
based text, suitable for both the trainee starting in the maternity suite and the
more experienced trainee preparing for anaesthetic examinations. Similarly, such
a book may be of use to anaesthetists involved in teaching obstetric anaesthesia.
In addition, obstetric anaesthetists of all grades are increasingly involved in the
management of sick obstetric patients, and few manuals or handbooks bridge
the gap between routine obstetric anaesthesia and analgesia and this challenging
area of practice. Finally, the boundaries between obstetric anaesthesia and anaesthesia
for certain gynaecological procedures are becoming increasingly blurred
as women present for anaesthesia (or anaesthetic advice) before pregnancy as
well as throughout pregnancy itself.
We hope this book fulfils these needs and provides useful, practical information
and advice to obstetric anaesthetists. Whilst aimed primarily at trainees, we hope it
will also be useful to more senior anaesthetists as a ready guide to be supplemented
by larger and more comprehensive texts. Other specialties and disciplines are also
involved in the care of pregnant women, and they too may find the book helpful.
Indeed, we wish to stress the importance of a team approach to maternity care,
particularly in the care of complex cases.
We have assumed basic anaesthetic knowledge and thus do not include topics
such as anaesthetic equipment and drugs, etc. except where there are areas of
specific obstetric relevance. We have tried to base the advice given on our own
practice, supported by evidence wherever possible, although we accept that
opinions differ amongst obstetric anaesthetists (including amongst ourselves!).
Despite this, we hope that we have presented a consistent guide to anaesthesia
and analgesia in pregnancy.
We hope the layout of the book is easy to follow and the difficulties we have
had classifying some of the topics are not too apparent. There will inevitably be
some repetition but we believe this is not necessarily a bad thing.