Senior Obstetrical Anesthesia

The Department of Anesthesia is committed to quality resident training in obstetric anesthesia. We are able to provide an excellent clinical and educational experience for residents encompassing all aspects of anesthesia for labor and delivery. Each resident spends approximately one month each year providing anesthesia in labor and delivery.

Clinical Experience

At The University of Iowa we take care of most of Eastern Iowa┬╣s (pop. 2 million) high risk obstetrical patients, including patients with congenital heart disease, diabetes, preeclampsia, multiple gestations, and premature labor. Participation in the care of these patients ensures that each resident will be familiar with the special needs of these challenging patients.

Obstetric care is given in a new $23 million Maternity Center, NICU, and PICU within University Hospitals. There are spacious labor-delivery rooms, modern operating rooms, and an adjoining NICU all close to the main OR and central anesthesia supplies. A high percentage of laboring patients request epidural anesthesia, and most non-emergent (and some emergent) cesarean deliveries are performed under spinal or epidural anesthesia. In addition to these regional anesthesia cases there a variety of procedures, including emergent and non-emergent cesarean deliveries, that are performed under general anesthesia, monitored anesthesia care, or conscious sedation. In addition, the anesthesia residents will be involved in pain management in some patients unable to receive regional anesthesia, in special monitoring including invasive hemodynamic monitoring in selected patients, and as consultants in the management of patients with complex medical conditions.


In addition to regular departmental didactic lectures and conferences there are computer-based lessons and lectures, and conferences and discussions during the rotation. Daily sign-out rounds as residents transfer responsibilities provide additional opportunities for teaching and discussion.

The extensive use of regional anesthesia in labor and delivery provide ample opportunity for residents to become comfortable and proficient in spinal and epidural anesthesia. In addition residents will learn associated techniques such as combined spinal-epidural anesthesia, patient-controlled epidural anesthesia, "walking epidurals", management of epidural and intrathecal narcotics, and the special anesthetic considerations necessary for obstetric patients.


The University of Iowa has a long tradition of cooperation and collaboration in research between Obstetrics and Anesthesia. Residents can participate in clinical or laboratory research directed by faculty in either department, and residents will find a helpful and cooperative environment for designing and conducting research protocols of their own. Residents and fellows at the University of Iowa have been finalists and winners of several Gertie Marx awards given by the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology.

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