Skip to Content

Pain Relief During Labor: Nitrous Oxide is now an option

Nitrous oxide machineAccording to the Mount Auburn Hospital Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology 2016 statistics, approximately 42% of births occurred without the use of an epidural. The providers at Mount Auburn Hospital support women who want to have an un-medicated, natural childbirth. While our statistics confirm that, not every patient may choose to deliver without some form of pain management.

In 2017, Mount Auburn Hospital introduced the use of Nitrous Oxide as a form of pain relief during labor to our patients. Nitrous Oxide also known as “laughing gas” is frequently used to manage pain in dental procedures. For use in labor pain Nitrous Oxide is mixed with half oxygen and is inhaled through a mask or mouthpiece to diminish the intensity of contractions.

Nitrous Oxide is cleared from the body through the lungs of the mother and once the mask is pulled away from the mouth the effects are gone in just a few breaths. The use of Nitrous Oxide is considered safe for the baby with no additional monitoring for the mother or baby during its use. As this particular pain management option is self-administered there are fewer risks associated with its use. Nitrous oxide may also be used with other forms of pain relief during labor such as an epidural.

For more information about pain relief options during labor ask your Mount Auburn Hospital Obstetrician.