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 encompassing all aspects of anesthesia for labor and delivery. Residents spend 2 months providing anesthesia in labor and delivery. Senior residents have the opportunity to do an OB elective.

Clinical Experience

Approximately 1,800 babies are delivered each year at the University of Iowa. We take care of most of eastern Iowa’s high risk obstetrical patients, including patients with congenital heart disease, diabetes, preeclampsia, multiple gestations, and premature labor. Because of this experience, our residents are familiar with the special needs of these challenging patients.

Our facilities include combined labor-delivery rooms, modern operating rooms, and an adjoining NICU (all close to the main OR and central anesthesia supplies).

At the University of Iowa, 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 the regional anesthesia cases, a number of other procedures (both emergent and non-emergent) are performed under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. Residents also help with pain management for patients unable to receive regional anesthesia, use invasive hemodynamic monitoring in selected patients, and serve as consultants in the management of patients with complex medical conditions.


OB anesthesia is included as part of the didactic curriculum presented Monday and Tuesday mornings. In addition, there are computer-based lessons, simulations, lectures, conferences and daily discussions during the rotation. The extensive use of regional anesthesia in labor and delivery provides ample opportunity for residents to become comfortable and proficient with spinal and epidural anesthesia. In addition, residents learn associated techniques such as combined spinal-epidural anesthesia, patient-controlled epidural anesthesia, "walking epidurals," and placement of epidural and intrathecal narcotics.


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 Anesthesia (or OB) 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.

We'd welcome your feedback!

Please help us improve your experience on our website by completing a brief survey