Laughing Gas For Labor? Don't Laugh - Using Nitrous Oxide For Labor Is A Serious Consideration. Keep Reading For More Info On How Nitrous Is Making A Comeback.

Laughing gas for labor? Don't laugh - using nitrous oxide for labor is a serious consideration. Keep reading for more info on how nitrous is making a comeback.
First we talk about the possibility of giving laboring moms control over their own epidurals, and now we're discussing another option: laughing gas for labor! But don't laugh - this is a serious consideration. Epidurals are expensive -- they must be given by anesthesiologists -- and can sometimes result in the need for instrument-assisted births, as we discussed earlier today. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, hasn't been used much at all in the United States for a few decades, but other countries such as Canada and Great Britain use laughing gas for labor pretty commonly. According to an Associated Press article on MNSBC, laughing gas (nitrous oxide) is only used for labor in two hospitals in the U.S. -- one in Seattle and one in San Francisco. However, the happy stuff might just make a comeback as hospitals such as Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center make plans to use nitrous oxide for labor. Furthermore, the federal government is apparently reviewing the laughing gas-for-labor option and the appropriate nitrous oxide administration equipment will be on the market soon.
"In this country, most people when they hear about nitrous, they think it sounds pretty retro, that it sounds very old-fashioned and they're sure there's something bad or dangerous about it and we must've chosen to eliminate it. But I think we eliminated it because we went for the more specialized, higher-tech options," said [Judith] Bishop [a certified nurse midwife at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center], who will be among the speakers Monday at a conference for New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine hospital officials.
Doctors and advocates emphasize that nitrous oxide will not take away the pain of labor and women who want to experience drastically reduced pain levels still need to consider epidurals. However, they say laughing gas is a good option for taking the edge off. I think laughing gas for labor is a fabulous option so long as it's safe for the laboring mom and baby. Going to the dentist is nothing like giving birth, but I get extremely anxious (fine, I freak out and panic) when I have dental work done. Unfortunately for me, I have genetically bad teeth -- so much so that I should have a frequent customer discount to the dentist and oral surgeon. I have a very high threshold for pain and my dental phobia has nothing to do with the pain associated with all of the fun things I have done to my teeth -- and many of them have been quite painful. However, a bad childhood experience at the dentist (apparently) affected me for life! As a result, when a dentist first suggested laughing gas to me about six years ago, it changed my world. Okay, fine, not my world, but at least my trips to the dentist and oral surgeon. I can absolutely see how laughing gas might be a great option for moms who want to experience something closer to a natural child birth but would like their nerves reduced. What do you think about using nitrous oxide or laughing gas for labor? Is it something you'd consider in place of an epidural?

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