What is Nitrous Oxide?
Labor isn’t exactly easy. It can be varying degrees of difficulty for different women since no one’s birth is the same, and everyone all has different lengths of time and intensity of contractions, etc.
Here at the birth center, we employ natural methods of pain reduction so the mother can have a better labor with minimal discomfort without the addition of medical intervention unless necessary. One of the pain relief methods available here is nitrous oxide.
What is it?
Nitrous oxide or Entonox is a gas that is made using a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. It is more commonly known as laughing gas. It is an inhalational analgesic that is often self-administered. You usually breathe it in through a mask or mouthpiece.
Once you breathe it in, the gas acts on your pain receptors to downregulate them, so you feel more relaxed and pain-free. You can choose to use the gas whenever you like since you can self-administer it.
Why is it used?
Nitrous oxide is used for analgesia during labor. It not only acts to decrease the amount of pain perception during labor but also regulates breathing and decreases anxiety levels for mothers. It is pregnancy-safe and one of the cheapest and easiest-to-use methods of pain relief available.
Since mothers can control the amount of inhaled gas they’re getting, it’s a popular choice because it gives them more liberty with their own pain control. They can use as little or as much as they like.
What are the benefits of Nitrous Oxide?
Some of the benefits of nitrous oxide include:
- It can be safely administered by the patient themselves
- It does not disrupt the release of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for causing your contractions, so you can still have effective contractions if you’re using nitrous oxide
- It has no harmful effects on breastfeeding
- It allows you to move around during labor
- It does not jeopardize the baby in any way and hence does not increase the need for neonatal resuscitation
- It is not a very strong analgesic so women still have some perception of the pain, but they feel more relaxed throughout
- It is short-acting and can be discontinued when needed
Because of these benefits, many mothers turn to nitrous oxide as a part of their birth plan. If you want to learn more about our other pain management methods at the birth center check out our website or send us a message!