Effects of Obstetric Analgesia and Anesthesia on Uterine Activity and Uteroplacental Blood Flow

  • Kenneth A. Conklin


Obstetric analgesia and anesthesia may alter uterine activity and/or uterine blood flow by a direct effect of the drug on the myometrium or uterine vasculature or indirectly by alteration of maternal physiology. A change in uterine activity can be objectively documented by a change in myometrial tone or in the frequency and intensity of uterine contractions or inferred by alteration of the progress of labor, i.e., the rate of cervical dilatation or the duration of labor. Anesthetic effects on uterine blood flow can be documented by direct (e.g., flow probe) or indirect (e.g., isotope washout) measurement of uterine blood flow or inferred if the fetal heart rate pattern or fetal blood gases change in a manner characteristic of uteroplacental insufficiency (i.e., reduced uterine blood flow). Additional information can be obtained by investigating the direct effects of an analgesic or anesthetic agent in vitro using myometrial or uterine arterial tissue preparations.


Epidural Analgesia Fetal Heart Rate Uterine Contraction Sympathetic Nervous System Activity Uterine Activity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth A. Conklin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, School of MedicineUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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