Epidurals, which give you medicine throughout your labor, are used more often than spinal blocks, one-time shots of medicine that wear off.
Spinal blocks, sometimes used in C-sections, cause a quicker and more complete loss of feeling.
General anesthesia, which puts you to sleep, isn't recommended for normal deliveries because of the health risks for the mother and baby. The biggest risk is that food in the mom's stomach could come back into her mouth while she's unconscious and get into her lungs.
For an epidural, medicine is injected into your lower back, and that will make you lose some feeling in your belly and the lower part of your body. An epidural can relax the muscles around your pelvis and sometimes slows labor. Tell your doctor if you can still feel pain or if it hurts more on one side.
You can ask for an epidural even if you had planned to give birth without drugs. It's too late for one when doctors can see your baby's head.