Information for Patients

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 patients throughout the delivery period. 

Our newest resources include SOAP informational brochures and flyers to help answer questions about your delivery and anesthesia care. Click on the titles below to download the information. 


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

Updated July 27th 2023: SOAP continues to affirm that epidurals are safe for mothers and infants and do not cause autism. We encourage their use for pain management during labor and delivery and emphasize their important impact on the safety of both mothers and their children.

Added October 1, 2021: 
 Findings from 2 new population-based studies in JAMA do not provide supportive evidence for an association between epidural labor analgesia and autism spectrum disorder in children.   

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. 

 Information about Lactation for Parents Needing Surgery and Anesthesia

> Download the Infographic (PDF) 

 Headaches after Child Birth from Epidural or Spinal

 Headaches After Childbirth

 Anesthesia for Cerclage 

Anesthesia for Cerclage

> Download the Infographic (PDF) 

 What is Placenta Accreta Spectrum (abnormal placentation)?


What is Placenta Accreta Spectrum (abnormal placentation)?

> Download the Infographic (PDF)

 What is an External Cephalic Version (ECV)?

ECV Patient Education

Download the Infographic (PDF) 

 Enhanced Recovery After Cesarean Delivery (ERAC) Information for Patients

Download the infographic (PDF)
Download the infographic (PDF) - Haitian/Creole

Preparing For Your Delivery: When do you need to talk to an Anesthesia Provider?

Download infographic (PDF)

I Had an Epidural That Didn't Work


Download Full Brochure (PDF)
Descarga el folleto (PDF) - Espanol
Download One Page Flyer (PDF)

 Headache After Childbirth After an Epidural or Spinal 


Download the brochure (PDF)
Descarga el folleto (PDF) - Espanol

Nitrous Oxide for Labor Pain


Download the full brochure (PDF)
Descarga el folleto (PDF) - Espanol

Information About Labor Epidurals: Your Questions Answered


Download the Full brochure (PDF) 
Descarga el folleto (PDF) - Espanol 
Telechaje tout bwochi a (PDF) - Haitian-Creole


Download a 1-page flyer with QR code to full brochure

Information about Anesthesia for your Cesarean Delivery: Your Questions Answered


Download the full brochure (PDF) - English
Descarga el folleto (PDF) - Espanol 
Download the 1-page flyer with QR code to access the full brochure (PDF)

Your Questions Answered: Alternatives to Epidural Pain Relief for Labor
Download the infographic (PDF)
Descarga el folleto (PDF) - Espanol 

Helpful Links

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.


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.

The educational materials presented here are the individual authors' opinions and not medical advice, are not intended to set out a legal standard of care, and do not replace medical care or the judgment of the responsible medical professional in light of all the circumstances presented by an individual patient. The materials are not intended to ensure a successful patient outcome in every situation and are not a guarantee of any specific outcome. Materials are subject to periodic revision as additional data becomes available. Opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of SOAP or any of its members, employees, or agents.