Regional anaesthesia for labour, operative vaginal delivery and caesarean delivery: a narrative review. Anaesthesia Sultan, P. n., Sultan, E. n., Carvalho, B. n. 2021; 76 Suppl 1: 136–47


This narrative review discusses recent evidence surrounding the use of regional anaesthesia in the obstetric setting, including intrapartum techniques for labour and operative vaginal delivery, and caesarean delivery. Pudendal nerve blockade, ideally administered by an obstetrician, should be considered for operative vaginal delivery if neuraxial analgesia is contraindicated. Regional techniques are increasingly utilised in clinical practice for caesarean delivery to minimise opioid consumption, reduce pain, improve postpartum recovery and facilitate earlier discharge as part of enhanced recovery protocols. The evidence surrounding transversus abdominis plane and quadratus lumborum blockade supports their use when: long-acting neuraxial opioids cannot be administered due to contraindications; if emergency delivery necessitates general anaesthesia; or as a postoperative rescue technique. Current data suggest quadratus lumborum blockade is no more effective than transversus abdominis plane blockade after caesarean delivery. Transversus abdominis plane blockade, wound catheter insertion and single shot wound infiltration are all effective techniques for reducing postoperative opioid consumption, with transversus abdominis plane blockade favoured, followed by wound catheters and then wound infiltration. Ilio-inguinal and iliohypogastric, erector spinae plane and rectus sheath blockade all require further studies to determine their efficacy for caesarean delivery in the presence or absence of long-acting neuraxial opioids. Future studies are needed to: compare approaches for individual techniques; determine which combinations of techniques and dosing regimens result in optimal analgesic and recovery outcomes following delivery; and elucidate the populations that benefit most from regional anaesthesia in the obstetric setting.

View details for DOI 10.1111/anae.15233

View details for PubMedID 33426655