Labor Pain Medication at a Glance

Spinal Block

What it does: A spinal block numbs the lower half of your body, and works more quickly than an epidural. It provides relief from pain, and is effective in small doses.

When it's used: It's best suited for pain relief during delivery -- not labor -- because it's usually only given once and the effects don't last long. It's most often used when the mother is too tired to push. A spinal block is frequently used for a cesarean birth, or if forceps or vacuum extraction are necessary.

How it's given: A spinal block is administered as a single injection into your spinal fluid while you're lying on your side. A thin needle is inserted in the same location of your back as the epidural. Once the spinal anesthetic is injected, the onset of numbness is quite rapid.

Pros:

  • It works more quickly than an epidural.
  • A much smaller dose is needed than for an epidural.

Cons:

  • You may experience a drop in blood pressure, headache, and some difficulty with urination.
  • As your blood pressure drops, oxygen flow to your baby decreases.
  • You'll need to lie flat on your back for four to eight hours after delivery.

Find a Baby Name

Browse by

or Enter a name

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment