September 01, 2020 @ 12:00am

Childbirth on Laughing Gas: a Serious Option

Nitrious oxide can be a 'game-changer'

There’s a new option for moms-to-be wanting to curb the pain of childbirth. Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is a safe alternative to the traditional epidural for expecting mothers looking for a more natural childbirth experience.

When it comes to giving birth, two of the biggest concerns are safety and pain.

Is it safe?

Nitrous is safe for both the mother and baby, not affecting the baby’s alertness or breastfeeding. Even though it’s a newer option in the U.S., it has been used in other countries for nearly a century. Another comfort is that the mother is in control, holding the mask over her own nose and mouth.

Is there still pain?

Nitrous helps calm the laboring mother while reducing pain and anxiety. Some mothers use nitrous throughout the entire labor and delivery, while others, less enthused with the idea of a natural childbirth, use it to get them through until the epidural.

The nitrous oxide helped me stay calmer and more focused, and the pain took a back seat.

Tessa Sherman, a registered respiratory therapist at Black River Memorial Hospital, recently used nitrous oxide during childbirth. “It takes a pretty good pull on the system to activate the nitrous and, because of that, you’re forced to take those big, deep breaths,” she said. “Having something else to focus on and having that gas to help me relax was a game-changer. I could concentrate more on letting the contractions do their work instead of how much it hurt.”

She recommends expecting mothers try it, saying, “The nitrous oxide helped me stay calmer and more focused, and the pain took a back seat.”

The BRMH obstetrics team can help you with pain relief options and all other elements of your delivery to create a personalized birth plan that ensures your safety and comfort. Learn more

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