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Nitrous Oxide for
Labor and Delivery

Delivery-pain-relief-option-nitrous-oxideNitrous oxide use during labor and delivery is a great option for pain relief. Nitrous oxide is safe for use for most women, offers minimal side effects, and is also safe for babies with no effect on baby alertness or breastfeeding.

Moreland OB-GYN is the first medical provider in Southeastern Wisconsin to offer nitrous oxide during labor and is a premiere gynecology and obstetric practice with services in Waukesha, Oconomowoc, Brookfield, Hartland, Sussex, Mukwonago, and Watertown.

What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a flavorless, odorless gas that can be administered to patients to help alleviate pain and anxiety, and promote relaxation.

Nitrous oxide is safe for use during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

How Does Nitrous Oxide Work During Labor?

Nitrous oxide is a unique pain-relief option during labor and delivery because it can be used at any time.

Patients are in control of administering nitrous oxide by either putting on or removing a mask. Breathing with the mask in place allows the effects of nitrous oxide to be felt in 30 seconds or less, allowing patients to experience pain relief and reduced feelings of anxiety almost immediately. Upon removal of the mask, within three breaths, the effects of nitrous oxide can no longer be felt.

  • Many women choose nitrous oxide to help reduce anxiety during early labor and then choose to use alternative options during active labor, like an epidural injection.
  • Some women choose to use nitrous oxide throughout labor, putting the mask in place before contractions, and breathing freely without the mask between contractions.

Learn more about nitrous oxide vs. other pain relief options in this informative article.

Benefits of Nitrous Oxide During Labor

Pregnancy-delivery-pain-relief-optionsThe use of nitrous oxide in labor and delivery is beneficial for many reasons.

  • It is a fast-acting pain relief option that allows you to feel the effects in 30 seconds or less.
  • When using nitrous oxide, you can get up, move around, re-position, or use a birthing device, such as a birthing ball.
  • Between contractions you can remove the mask, reducing or eliminating the effects of the gas; you can feel like yourself, without any grogginess.
  • Nitrous oxide wears off quickly, and the full effects only last as long as the mask is in place on your face.

In a recent New York Times article written by Sarah Baird, “The Rise of Laughing Gas in the Delivery Room,” healthcare professionals from around the country weigh in on the benefits of nitrous oxide and its rising popularity in the U.S. The article states, “The increased interest in nitrous dovetails with a growing number of women searching for ways to avoid additional medical interventions during birth.” Read more.

Nitrous Oxide Side Effects

There are very few risks associated with the use of nitrous oxide. In fact, it is one of the safest pain relief options for women during labor and delivery.

Nitrous oxide side effects include:

  • Mild nausea (experienced by about 20-percent of women)
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

You can be given anti-nausea medication to help reduce these symptoms.

The nitrous oxide used by obstetricians during labor and delivery is 50-percent nitrous gas and 50-percent oxygen. Unlike the side effects of much higher concentrations used in dentistry and other medical fields, the side effects of a 50/50 gas are minimized substantially. In fact, all side effects of nitrous oxide wear off in as little as 10-15 minutes.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Nitrous Oxide Use?

pregnant-woman-testing-768x513Almost everyone is a good candidate for using nitrous oxide in labor and delivery. The only disqualifying factor is if you currently have a B12 deficiency or if you’ve had one in the past.

If you are interested in the use of nitrous oxide during labor, our staff will draw blood in your third trimester to confirm it is a safe option for you.

Nitrous oxide can also be used successfully to help patients who experience pain with cervical checks or other procedures during pregnancy.

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