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Women’s Anaesthesia

Delivery Suite Pain Relief Services

The Department of Women’s Anaesthesia was first set up in 1975 to provide anaesthesia and analgesia for women undergoing labour and various forms of obstetric and gynaecological surgeries. As the leading hospital for women’s healthcare, we constantly strive to achieve a high standard of care for our delivering mothers.

In 1985, we offered our obstetric patients the assurance that an anaesthetic specialist is available 24 hours a day to provide consultation and pain relief care to mothers in labour, so that they can enjoy a safe and comfortable labour and delivery.

We provide a full range of comprehensive labour pain management services which include

  1. Inhalational Entonox (type of analgesia consisting of nitrous oxide and oxygen)
  2. Intramuscular Pethidine (fast-acting opioid analgesic injection)
  3. Patient Controlled Intravenous Remifentanil (potent short acting synthetic opioid analgesic)
  4. Patient Controlled Epidural Analgesia (PCEA)
  5. Computer-Integrated Patient Controlled Epidural Analgesia (CI-PCEA)

Each year, approximately 40% of our labouring mothers opt for epidural pain relief. Annually, more than 5,000 mothers benefit from our epidural and combined spinal and epidural techniques for labour and delivery. We have safely provided epidural pain relief for more than 100,000 patients since the inception of our epidural service. In 1997, KKH was the first hospital in Singapore to adopt the Combined Spinal Epidural (CSE) technique for labour pain relief. This technique has since been proven to be safe and superior in providing a faster onset of pain relief with increased patient satisfaction.

Our incidence of epidural-related complications is one of the lowest and comparable with many major tertiary centres. In a recent audit of more than 1,000 mothers who received the CSE technique, we found a lower incidence of side effects and higher level of patient satisfaction.

  • Motor block 1%
  • Postpartum backache 10%
  • Postpartum headache 2.5%
  • Postpartum neural deficit 0%
  • Postpartum urinary retention 5%

Patient Controlled Epidural Analgesia

In 1999, the Department of Women’s Anaesthesia was the first in Singapore to initiate the Patient Controlled Epidural Analgesia (PCEA) programme and made patient controlled analgesia available amongst our women in labour. This programme has shown to improve patient satisfaction and reduce the amount of pain relief medications required during labour. Our continuous strive for excellence in the field of pain relief for labouring mothers has resulted in the innovative development of the computer-integrated PCEA service with a central monitoring system. This was launched in 2009 in our 32-bedded delivery suite and will further enhance our pain relief service.

Research, Teaching and Training

Our staff members are also dedicated to research, teaching & training. Our anaesthetists hold faculty appointments at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Duke-NUS Medical School. Our continuous series of clinical and translation research works aim to improve patient care and increase safety in labour pain relief. Our department frequently collaborates with anaesthetic faculties from United Kingdom, Australia and Indonesia, organising obstetric workshops and providing training for both local and overseas medical personnel in the management of high-risk mothers.