The nerves that transmit the pain of contractions travel from the uterus and vagina to the spinal cord. Spinal anesthetic is one method used to partially or completely numb these nerves, blocking the sensation of pain. In a spinal anesthetic, also called a subarachnoid block or saddle block, a needle is placed into the fluid-filled sac containing the nerves, and a solution of local anesthetic or narcotic pain medicine is injected.
There are other forms of pain medication available during delivery. Be sure to check with your healthcare team about which options are best for you.