Are local anaesthetics safe in pregnancy?

Expert advice on having a local anaesthetic for health and dental treatment while pregnant

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In a nutshell

Local anaesthetics are safe

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The expert view

Although experts recommend only going ahead with essential procedures during pregnancy, it is possible you may need some sort of surgery that requires a local anaesthetic.

Whether for dental treatment, removal of a mole, or something more serious, it’s difficult not to worry, but, MFM’s GP Dr Philippa Kaye says local anaesthetic are safe for mums-to-be.

“In fact, epidurals for pain relief during labour are a form of local anaesthetic,” she says.

And, according to the British Journal of Anaesthesia, “local anaesthetics have a good safety record for use during pregnancy”.

How does local anaesthetic work?

“Small amounts of local anaesthetic are generally injected through the skin to numb an area during a procedure so that pain is not felt,” explains Dr Kaye. “However, as with any medication or procedure do tell your medical team that you are pregnant so that only pregnancy safe medications are used.”

Mums on our forum say

“Have had several injections at dentist and they numb the area with a gel 1st to ease the pain (I usually get sedated as have a phobia of dentists) because its local anaestetic it means it only affects the local area – don’t worry about.” – Crochetmum

“I’m at the dentist on Monday to have a small filling done and have been worrying about it for ages. When I went for my check up last month and he told me I needed a filling, I did ask him then for his reassurance that it was ok to have the local anaesthetic.

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“He said it was fine. I also phoned my mw just to double check and she said as long as it’s Lignocaine then it’s no problem at all.” – kellycham

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