United States

More Mothers Using Laughing Gas in the Labor Room

For a first-time mother, preparing for labor and delivery can be nerve-wracking, especially for moms-to-be who plan to give birth naturally.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is offering a new option that can ease labor pains but still provide a natural birth.

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is now being used in labor rooms.

It's been a popular option in the mothers in Europe and now it's making a resurgence here in the United States.

Brittany Gray recently used it for her all-natural birth.

"I was coherent the whole time. It was amazing for me as a first-time mom to be able to use that and not have to be pumped up with all the chemicals and things," said Gray.

"It's a great option for women who don't want to have pain medication in labor but need a little something to help them get through the rough spots in labor," said Laurie Jones, nurse manager at the Labor Delivery department at Texas Health Fort Worth.

The half nitrous oxide, half oxygen mixture targets pain more on a mental level, than physical, relaxing moms and easing anxiety.

"It doesn't really take the pain away from her as much as she doesn't care as much about the pain," said Jones.

It's odorless and colorless and wears off in two to four breaths.

It's there when laboring moms need it.

"They can actually get out of bed, they can sit on the birthing balls, they can ambulate around the room and use it off-and-on as needed to cope with labor," said Gray.

She adds patients who have Vitamin B deficiencies, which can be common among strict vegans, would not be good candidates for nitrous oxide.

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