Anesthesia During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, tell your dentist during your visit.

During the first trimester, it is best to avoid any dental treatment that’s not essential. After that point, discuss your anesthesia options with your dentist and your obstetrician or midwife. They can help to decide on the safest choice for you.

Local Anesthetics

Sometimes a dentist will give you a shot to numb part of your mouth. This is called a local anesthetic. Pregnant women can receive some local anesthetics for necessary treatment. But most dentists say it’s best to have dental treatment before pregnancy or postpone treatment that’s not essential.

Nursing women can receive normal doses of local anesthetics. This does not affect the baby.

If possible, pregnant women should avoid local anesthetics that contain epinephrine. If it accidentally enters a blood vessel, it could reduce the blood supply to the placenta. It also could cause spasms in blood vessels. Spasms could affect the arteries that supply the uterus.


Sedation makes you drowsy and less anxious. Pregnant women should avoid nitrous oxide, particularly during the first trimester. There are many other options to reduce dental anxiety. Examples include listening to music or acupuncture. Women who are pregnant or could be pregnant should not be given diazepam or similar drugs.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia causes you to become unconscious. The effects of general anesthesia on a pregnant woman and her fetus vary. It depends on the drugs used. In most cases, pregnant women should avoid general anesthesia. If you are pregnant or believe you may be pregnant, tell your dentist or oral surgeon.

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