To relieve pain associated with the second (pushing) stage of labor, an injection called a pudendal block can be given through the vaginal wall and into the pudendal nerve in the pelvis, numbing the area between the vagina and anus (perineum). Pudendal blocks do not relieve the pain of contractions.
A pudendal block works quickly, is easily administered, and does not affect the baby. It is given shortly before delivery. But it cannot be used if the baby's head is too far down in the birth canal (vagina).
An injection of pain medicine into the tissues around the cervix is called a paracervical block. A paracervical block is another form of local anesthesia. It reduces the pain caused by contractions and stretching of the cervix. A paracervical block lasts about 1 to 2 hours.
Sometimes the baby's heartbeat can slow down after a paracervical block is done. Paracervical blocks are rarely done today, because epidural anesthesia is more effective.
Current as of: February 11, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
John M. Freedman, MD - Anesthesiology