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Obstetric Anesthesia

The Division of Obstetric Anesthesia provides subspecialty care primarily in the Labor and Delivery (L&D) unit of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The history of our division dates to the early-1980s when Dr. David Chestnut joined the department. He, along with Dr. Won Choi, led groundbreaking research in management of spinal anesthesia induced hypotension, epidural labor analgesia, and the management of preeclamptic parturients here at the UIHC. The division grew in subsequent years with the recruitment of other renowned obstetric anesthesiologists, Dr. Donald Penning, Dr. Brenda Bucklin and Dr. James Bates. The faculty within our division have subspecialty training or special interest in obstetric anesthesia and have expertise in the care of high-risk obstetric patients.

Unyime Ituk, MBBS, FCARCSI
total births
neuraxial analgesia

Our division is committed to resident and medical student education. Anesthesia residents rotate through the division during their clinical anesthesia training. During their rotations our residents learn both the basics of providing anesthesia care for the obstetric patient and are exposed to high-risk parturients requiring specialized care. Medical students also spend time with our service during their anesthesia clerkship. Several medical students spend their research rotation involved in clinical research under the mentorship of the obstetric anesthesia division faculty.


Our division is actively involved in clinical research with a focus on improving clinical outcomes in obstetric patients. Ongoing studies include oxytocin and its effects on fetal heart rate changes in patients receiving neuraxial labor analgesia, predicting post cesarean pain, and noise in the delivery suite.

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