A systemic analgesic is a pain medicine that is injected into your vein or muscle. This medicine acts on your entire nervous system rather than just a certain part of your body. The pain may not completely go away, but it will be dulled.
With systemic analgesics, some women have an easier labor and feel more relaxed. These medicines usually do not slow down labor. They also do not affect contractions.
But, they make you and your baby drowsy. Some women complain of feeling like they lose control.
An epidural block numbs or causes a loss of feeling in the lower half your body. A doctor injects the block into the lower back. This lessens the pain of contractions and makes it easier to deliver the baby through the vagina.
Low doses are given because it is safer for you and the baby. Once the medicine takes effect (10 - 20 minutes), you should feel better. You may still feel some back or rectal pressure during contractions.
Local anesthesia (pudendal block) is a numbing medicine that your doctor injects into the vagina and rectal areas when you are close to delivery. It lessens the pain as the baby passes through the numbed the area. You will also have this kind of block if you have an episiotomy.