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Local Anesthesia for Childbirth

Topic Overview

Local anesthesia for childbirth is most commonly given as an injection that numbs the area around the vagina just before an episiotomy is done. An episiotomy is an incision made in the tissue between the vagina and anus (the perineum) just before the baby's head emerges. It is done to enlarge the vaginal opening to accommodate the delivery of the baby or to help deliver the baby more quickly.

Local anesthesia has no ill effects on the baby when given prior to an episiotomy. It does not relieve uterine contraction pain.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised November 13, 2013

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