St. Bernards Birthcare Center is the first in the region to offer the option of Nitrous Oxide (otherwise known as laughing gas) to laboring women.
Nitrous oxide is commonly used to ease the pain of childbirth in countries like Great Britain and Australia but has not been widely used in the U.S. until recently, when the technology used to safely deliver the gas became federally approved.
Nitrous Oxide consists of a mixture of nitrous oxide (N2O) and oxygen, and is the same type that is commonly used in dentists’ offices. It is inhaled through an oxygen mask and is controlled by the patient, to safely help ease the pain without inhibiting muscle movement. Some women use the gas instead of epidural analgesia, while others use it up until they are able to receive an epidural.
“The Nitronox system St. Bernards has purchased has been approved by the FDA and is used in several other states with great results,” said Dana Lands, director of the St. Bernards Birthcare Center. “The gas is very fast acting and quick to leave the patient’s system, allowing them control while remaining safe for the baby.”
Nitrous oxide use does not affect breastfeeding or disrupt natural release of oxytocin and does not affect infant alertness after birth during initial bonding between mother and newborn, making it a safe analgesic option for women during childbirth.
“The Birthcare Center staff are excited to offer yet another option to the women in our community,” said Lands. “Each laboring woman is very different and wants a different experience, and we are happy to be able to personalize the care we give here.”
Patients can learn more by calling the St. Bernards Healthline at 870.207.7300 or visiting stbernards.info.