Local Anesthesia for Childbirth

Topic Overview

Local anesthesia for childbirth is most commonly given as a shot that numbs the area around the vagina just before an episiotomy is done. An episiotomy is a cut made in the tissue between the vagina and anus just before the baby's head starts to emerge. (The tissue is called the perineum.) The cut makes the vaginal opening bigger. It may be done to help deliver the baby more quickly or more easily.

Local anesthesia does not harm the baby when given before an episiotomy. It does not relieve pain from contractions.

Credits

Current as of: May 29, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
John M. Freedman, MD - Anesthesiology

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Health Library