Ropivacaine is a new long-acting local anesthetic which is a pure (S)-(-)-enantiomer, with an efficacy profile similar to that of bupivacaine. Compared in equal doses, ropivacaine shows more separation between sensory and motor blockade than bupivacaine. Moreover, ropivacaine has a lower systemic toxicity than bupivacaine. In obstetrics, ropivacaine and bupivacaine have been compared for Cesarean section and for epidural pain relief during labor and delivery. For Cesarean section, both drugs provide similar analgesia when given in equal doses, but motor block is less pronounced with ropivacaine. Neonatal outcome as determined by Apgar scores and Neurological Adaptive Capacity Scores (NACS) is also similar. For epidural pain relief during labor and delivery, both drugs are equally effective, either when given alone or in combination with opioids; a meta-analysis of six studies showed that compared to bupivacaine, the use of ropivacaine is associated with significantly less motor block and instrumental deliveries. This clinical profile of ropivacaine presently makes it the local anesthetic of first choice in obstetrics.