Department of
Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

Grace Lim, MD, MS

  • Associate Professor
  • Chief, Division of Obstetric & Womens Anesthesiology
  • Magee-Womens Research Institute BIRCWH Scholar
  • Faculty, Magee-Womens Research Institute

Dr. Lim is a physician scientist and board-certified obstetric anesthesiologist who has dedicated her clinical, educational, and research career to improving health and outcomes. The goal of her clinical and translational research work is to personalize acute clinical care and interventions in periods of stress and trauma, such as childbirth or surgery, so that long-term recovery and maternal and neonatal health is optimized. Her current research aims to characterize the heterogeneity of labor pain and analgesia, determine the mechanisms and factors that contribute to the unique labor pain experiences among women, and identify the relationship between pain and postpartum recovery and depression. To achieve these goals, quantitative sensory, liquid biopsy (plasma, saliva, and cerebrospinal fluid), and patient-reported measurements are employed. Dr. Lim is currently the principal investigator for two community- and hospital-based, prospective, observational, and randomized controlled clinical investigations aimed at elucidating the relationship between pain during childbirth and perinatal depression. Findings have revealed significant, independently predictive relationships between acute pain variables and postpartum depression. The long-term goal is to apply tailored perinatal interventions that reduce the impact of pain on maternal and neonatal psychological and psychosocial function. Dr. Lim is contributing to deeper knowledge of the psychological characteristics of acute and chronic pain, including how these characteristics relate to the downstream risk for depression. With these investigations, improved understanding of how differential risk for pain and depression impacts maternal mood and infant cognitive development is gained.

Education & Training

  • University of Missouri, Combined BA/MD
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Anesthesiology Residency
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Obstetric Anesthesiology Fellowship
  • University of Pittsburgh, T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
  • University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education, Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSci), Comparative Effectiveness Track

Representative Publications

Dr. Lim's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Research, clinical, and/or academic interests

Clinical and translational research in obstetric anesthesiology at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital seeks to optimize maternal and neonatal health by developing novel and personalized clinical management strategies. Research from the Lim lab continues to focus on the primary themes of obstetric anesthesia and perinatology; pain and analgesia in the perinatal period; and outcomes optimization in vulnerable populations. Most recently, their work has focused on identifying the potential role of puerperal pain and labor analgesia on postpartum depression (PPD) risk.