General anaesthetic for women giving birth by caesarean section

Chart title: General anaesthetic for women giving birth by caesarean section, by State/territory of birth and all Australia, 2007 to 2018.

This chart shows the proportion of women having a general anaesthetic giving birth by caesarean section, by state/territory of birth, 2007 to 2018.  Data can be viewed for each state/territory of birth, and for all Australia. The proportion of women receiving a general anaesthetic giving birth by caesarean section for all Australia decreased from 8.2% in 2007 to 6.0% in 2018.

Clinical commentary

Regional anaesthesia (or epidural) is the most common method of providing anaesthesia for caesarean section (94%) (AIHW 2020). Regional anaesthesia is safer for mother and baby than general anaesthesia (ANZCA 2018). When general anaesthesia is used, the most common indications are urgency, maternal refusal of regional techniques, inadequate or failed regional attempts, and regional contraindications including coagulation or spinal abnormalities (Shroff et al. 2004). Obstetric indications, such as placenta praevia, were considered absolute indications for general anaesthesia however, there are now indications that general anaesthesia may not be the only option (McGlennan & Mustafa 2009).

Indicator specifications and data

Excel source data tables are available from the Data tab.

For more information refer to Specifications and notes for analysis in the technical notes.