During the normal management of labor and birth, women are often administered medications to reduce, control or eliminate the pain associated with labor. In order to assess the condition of the laboring woman, the unborn child, and the general progress of the labor, an anesthesiologist is consulted about what he judges to be the best way to manage the pain of labor and birth. In order to better understand the condition of the woman, the anesthesiologist will typically interview her and then determine what he believes to be the correct combination of anesthetic medications and the ideal way to administer them.

It can happen that the anesthesiologist makes an incorrect assessment of the situation and administers the wrong quantity or combination of drugs. This can, unfortunately have adverse consequences on the birthing mother, the baby or both of them. In the case of obstetric anesthesia, there are two patients under consideration, and either one can be susceptible to incorrect administration of medication.