Nitrous Oxide has been used as a method of pain relief since post-World War II in Europe and most recently, the United States. Many people are most familiar with its use in the dentist office—often referred to as “laughing gas.” On the television program, Call the Midwife, Gas and Air (Nitrous Oxide) was introduced in one of the episodes as a method of pain relief for women in labor.
What is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is a mixture of nitrous and oxygen (50/50 blend). It is self-administered through a machine that delivers just the right amount at any point in labor.
How can the use of Nitrous Oxide help me during labor?
As a pain relief during labor, Nitrous Oxide delivers a number of benefits including no limit as to how long you choose to use it during labor. Benefits include:
- Ability to use it in the labor tub
- Ability to delay the use of an epidural (if needed)
- Minimal to no effect on the infant
- Wears off quickly
- It doesn’t impede the natural process of labor
- Minimal side effects to the mother
So why isn’t everyone using Nitrous?
Pain relief in labor is such a personal choice. There are many things that can affect how a woman perceives pain in labor such as length of labor, pain tolerance, position of the baby or if you are having an induction of labor.
Nitrous Oxide will be an option coming soon to South Shore Hospital. If the use of this method of pain relief is something that you may be interested in, be sure to ask your provider if you are a candidate.