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
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.