Moreland OB-GYN to offer laughing gas during labor

Freeman Staff

June 4, 2019

OCONOMOWOC — Future moms looking for more agency during their childbirth experience now have one more option.

Moreland OB-GYN & Associates announced Monday that the women’s health care organization will be the first in southeast Wisconsin to offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as a pain relief option for mothers experiencing childbirth.

Laughing gas will be offered for moms giving birth at ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital.

According to a press release, laughing gas is widely used for labor in several countries with high standards of health care and 60% of women in the UK — and nearly half of the women in Australia and Canada — rely on nitrous oxide to help alleviate the pain and anxiety associated with giving birth. In the last few years, there has been a resurgence of nitrous oxide use in the U.S. Today, approximately 400 of the 5,500 hospitals nationwide have made the optional method of pain relief available.

“We are thrilled to offer nitrous oxide because it is a safe and versatile pain relief option used during any stage of labor,” said Stephanie Voice, D.O. at Moreland OB-GYN & Associates. “With an epidural, a mother’s mobility is restricted. For women who want to walk or move while in labor, nitrous oxide is self-administered and provides relief while allowing the recipient to remain in full control of her move.”

Nitrous oxide for labor and delivery is a 50/50 blend of nitrous oxide and oxygen. The gas is offered to a mother at her bedside and is self-administered through a removable mask. Each patient is allowed to use as much or as little as needed to help with pain control — with no side effects to the baby.

According to the release, there are very few risks associated with the use of nitrous oxide and it is known as one of the safest pain relief options for women during labor and delivery. While some side effects may occur including dizziness and mild nausea (experienced in about 20% of women), medication can be provided to reduce these symptoms. In many cases, the use of nitrous oxide does not preclude the placement of an epidural. It is common to use nitrous oxide before having an epidural, as the two cannot be used concurrently.

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