Full Circle Labor Option

 Before the advent of epidurals, women in the United States often used “laughing gas”  or  nitrous oxide to take the edge off of labor pain.  Now Willamette Valley Medical Center has reintroduced this option for women to consider when having her baby.

 Nitrous oxide (mixed 50/50 with oxygen) provides patient controlled, self-administered analgesia.  It is safe for both mother and baby.  It is short acting with onset seconds after inhaling and clearance beginning seconds after inhalation ends.

 For those wishing to avoid or delay an epidural, it can be a great option for pain relief.  There is no loss of consciousness, control or memory.  In addition, it is helpful in decreasing anxiety and calming nerves.

 Nitrous oxide can be used with each contraction.  It is administered through a mask which allows only the patient to receive the effect.  Exhaled gases are cleared through the system as well.  It can also be used after delivery if a repair or other procedure is necessary.

 Using nitrous oxide does not preclude changing to an epidural if more relief becomes necessary or desirable.  However, it can work well for women desiring a more natural birth experience (along with using Jacuzzi tubs, birthing balls, directed message’).  The goal for the labor team at Willamette Valley Medical Center and your delivering provider is to help each woman have the birth experience they desire.

Paid Advertising Column By Kay E. Case, M.D.
Physician and Surgeon, Women's Health Care

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