Labor Pain Medication at a Glance

Local Anesthetics

What they do: Local anesthetics relieve pain by numbing or reducing sensation in a small area. They ease the pain of delivery, but they don't lessen the pain of contractions.

When they're used: This type of drug is used in the second stage of labor to numb your birth canal and perineum for forceps delivery, episiotomy, and repair.

How they're given: Local anesthetics are generally injected around the pudendal nerves inside the vagina. You'll usually respond in about two to three minutes and the effects of the drug may last one hour.


  • You probably won't experience any lingering aftereffects. There are no known negative side effects for your baby.


  • Pain relief is limited to specific area and it's relatively short-lived. Also, it doesn't relieve the pain of uterine contractions.

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