Relief for women in labor

How does it work?
A mixture of 50% nitrous gas and 50% oxygen is self-administered by through a facial mask. About 30 seconds before a contraction, you can inhale the gas mixture for pain relief. It can be ordered by your doctor or midwife, and we’ll go over the instructions once you’re here. 

Does it have any side effects?
Nausea has been reported, along with some unsteadiness and dizziness. Because of this, it’s extremely important to have assistance from a medical expert prior to getting up.

Are there any effects on the baby?
There are no proven effects on the baby, but know there could be theoretical risks to nitrous oxide and other pain relieving medication used during pregnancy. Nitrous is the only pain relief method used for labor that is cleared from the body through the lungs.

Can an epidural still be chosen after using nitrous oxide?
Yes! It’s perfectly fine to use nitrous and choose an alternative method of pain control, too.

Is there additional monitoring required?
Nope! Nitrous does not increase the monitoring required.

Please note, nitrous oxide can’t be used under these circumstances:

  • If you can’t hold your own face mask
  • If a dose of narcotics was received in the past two hours
  • If you have pernicious anemia or a B12 deficiency and you take supplements
  • If you have other rare medical conditions which a member of the OB team will assess when they speak to you

Mercy Health - St. Vincent Medical Center was the first in the State of Ohio to offer this pain management option and is pleased to have it available for use today!