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.
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & John M. Freedman MD - Anesthesiology