What is Nitrous Oxide and How is it Used?

Childbirth is a beautiful experience. However, it does come with some pain and discomfort. While some mothers choose to go through labor without any interventions, not everyone chooses this.

At the birth center, we don’t encourage medications such as epidurals during birth. However, we offer natural methods to alleviate some of the discomfort during this period.

One of these options is Nitrous Oxide.

What is Nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a combination of nitrous and oxygen gasses. It is an odorless, colorless gas that can be inhaled for a mild anesthetic effect.

How does it work?

Nitrous oxide has a mild anesthetic effect that allows you to manage pain while remaining mobile and functional during labor. It does not impact your ability to feel contractions or push as is the case with an epidural. Instead, nitrous oxide just takes away the bite of discomfort so the pain is more manageable and you can focus on pushing more effectively.

Since it is an inhaled gas, you (the laboring person) can choose the amount of gas you’re using according to how much you need. 

Pain is subjective to every mother, which is why we do not believe in administering fixed doses. Some mothers may benefit from a very small amount yet others may require more. The idea is to encourage decision-making so mothers feel more in control of their bodies and birthing experience.

What are the benefits of nitrous oxide?

Some benefits of nitrous oxide include:

  • It wears off quickly and poses no risk to the baby
  • It helps mothers feel calmer
  • Mothers can choose how much they’re using
  • Does not require any needles or tablets for administration
  • Can be used during active labor without any additional risks
  • It has fewer side effects compared to oral or IV painkillers

If you are interested in hearing more about nitrous oxide or other natural pain relief techniques, be sure to ask at your next appointment or give us a call!