What’s a Pudendal Block?

What’s a pudendal block?
profile picture of Robert Wool, MD
ByRobert Wool, MD
OB-GYN
Updated
Mar 2017
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The pudendal _nerve _gets credit for helping baby-making become fun — it’s the main nerve that picks up sensations in the vulva, clitoris and vagina. And the pudendal _block _is a local anesthetic that can be used to numb that same area during childbirth.

The pudendal block isn’t used too frequently, since most women get epidural anesthesia, which helps prevent pain down there. But a pudendal block may be administered if you don’t opt for an epidural (or if you couldn’t get an epidural for some reason, for example, if you’re on blood-thinning medications, which can create a risk of excess bleeding during an epidural).

Be warned: The pudendal block is administered with a large needle (about six inches), that’s stuck into a point in the vagina past the pubic bone. But the idea is that it hurts a lot less than an  episiotomy will.

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