Information for Mothers

Keeping You and Your Baby Safe and Comfortable Before, During, and After Delivery

As the voice of obstetric anesthesiologists, the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP) provides trustworthy, high-quality answers to all your questions about managing pain before, during, and after delivery. Our information has been written and reviewed by experts in caring for pregnant women throughout the delivery period. If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please let us know, and pass this page on to anyone who you think it could help.

The safehealthcareforeverywoman website provides additional helpful resources. SOAP is proud to be a supporting organization of the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care.


Labor Epidurals Do Not Cause Autism; Safe for Mothers and Infants


Added April 21, 2021: SOAP was gratified to receive notification from SOAP members Dr. Brian Bateman and Dr. Alex Butwick that additional research on this critical issue has been published in JAMA Pediatrics. The findings of these comprehensive research studies, published April 19, 2021, found no association between autism and labor epidurals for pain relief. This reinforces our previous statement that labor epidurals are safe. Here are links to the e-published research studies:

In October 2020, SOAP reassured pregnant women that the article “Association Between Epidural Analgesia During Labor and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Offspring,” a retrospective database study published in JAMA Pediatrics on October 12, 2020, did not provide credible scientific evidence that labor epidurals for pain relief cause autism. SOAP jointly released a statement with the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Society for Pediatric Anesthesia, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and provided the following resources.


Pain Management During Childbirth (external link, YouTube)
by Catherine Tsai, MD; Devon Smith, MD; and Mark Rollins, MD, PhD
This multi-part video explains the basics of delivery pain relief, including non-medical interventions, IV pain medicines, Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas or gas in air), and epidurals.

The Gentle C (external link, YouTube)
SOAP member and past president Bill Camann, MD, discusses the Gentle Cesarean.

 Ask SOAP a Question

Have you read a news article or seen a Facebook or Twitter post that you’d like us to explain? Has a friend or family member had an experience or told you a story that you wanted to ask about? Is there a pain technique that you want more information about? Submit your question to SOAP. We look forward to answering your questions and hope you’ll share our site with friends and family.