Abstract Background Bupivacaine, an amid-type local anesthetic, is widely used for clinical patients especially in pregnant women. In addition to neurotoxicity effect of bupivacaine, it can cross the placenta, accumulates in this tissue and retained in fetal tissues. Nevertheless, whether bupivacaine can cause neurotoxicity in fetus remains unclear. Hence, this study was design to investigate the effects of maternal bupivacaine use on fetus hippocampal cell apoptosis and the possible related mechanism. Methods On day 15 of pregnancy, sciatic nerve of pregnant wistar rat (180–200 g) were exposed by lateral incision of the right thigh and 0.2 ml of bupivacaine was injected. After their delivery, we randomly selected one male offspring of every mother. On day 30 after of their birth, the rat’s hippocampi were isolated for molecular studies. Western blotting was used to examine the expression of cleaved caspase-3, caspase-8 and p-Akt in fetal hippocampus. Results Our results showed that maternal bupivacaine use caused a significant increment of cleaved caspase-3 and caspase-8 expression in fetal hippocampus compared with the sham group. In addition, maternally administered bupivacaine could significantly decrease hippocampal P.Akt/T.Akt ratio which was concurrent with an increment of cleaved caspase-3 and caspase-8 expression. Conclusion Our data suggest that maternal bupivacaine use increases fetal hippocampal cell apoptosis markers such as caspase 8 and cleaved caspase 3, at least in part, via inhibiting the Akt activation.