What is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is more commonly known as laughing gas, which is colorless, odorless, and slightly sweet-tasting. It is used as an alternative way to help with pain relief and manage labor.
What is nitrous oxide used for?
Using nitrous oxide during labor is actually quite simple. When inhaled, it provides a soothing sensation, making the laboring person less aware of the pain. It is considered a weak anesthetic but has proved to be an anxiolytic that treats anxiety.
Is it safe for delivery?
Research has shown that not only is nitrous oxide safe for the mother to inhale, but also for the fetus and the caregiving staff around the mother. It is safe to use since it does not disrupt the release of oxytocin in the fetus or mother, hence preserving the earlier bonding between them.
How is it administered?
The unique part of administering nitrous oxide is the ability of the mother to be able to have control over its use. The laboring mom holds the mask while inhaling the gas. The effects wear off almost entirely as soon as the mask is removed. The high rate of patient satisfaction from this method of analgesia has led to its increased use throughout the world.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of using nitrous oxide reside in its safety as far as the long-term health of the mother and child are concerned. Since it is self-administered, it can be controlled by the mother, and the anxiety of giving birth reduces even further.
This method does not work by eliminating pain but by making the mother less aware of the existence of labor pain and frustration. It does not alter the physiological progress of the labor process itself or the time needed.
Nitrous oxide is one of the comfort measures we offer at Sacred Roots Birth & Wellness Center, along with hydrotherapy, birth balls, and sterile water injections.Our goal is to foster a comfortable environment providing support throughout your labor, birth, and for several hours afterward.
If you are interested in using this method for your labor, talk to your care provider so you can make sure it is included in your birth plan!