(Closed) nitrous oxide for pain management during labor

posted 9 years ago in Babies
Post # 4
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I’m in the US, and while I didn’t use nitrous oxide for my birth, I seriously considered it and did a lot of research about it.  In the end, I chose not to use it because my insurance wouldn’t cover gas and I’d have to place a special order so I could have it available at my birth (since it’s not used very commonly during labor in the US). 

The main reason I was considering gas over other pain medications is the effects on the baby.  Since notrous oxide is administered through the lungs, it’s effects are almost immediate (the longest it takes to get full effects is 1 minute) and it leaves your system/the baby’s system almost immediately (the longest it takes to get out of your system is 1 minute).  The only complication to the baby documented is slight respiratory difficulty if used too close to the actual birth.   Also, there are some studies of women in the UK who’ve used gas during labor/birth, and the rate of women who said it was effective for pain management was quite a bit higher than all the other narcotics typically used during birth.  In fact, the only medication that rated higher for effectiveness was an epidural, which is not as highly used in other countries as it is in the US.

The negatives I found during my research were mostly individual reactions to nitrous oxide.  Some people have reactions of dizziness or nauseau.  Some people don’t react as well to gas as they do to other pain medications.  It’s kinda hard to know ahead of time how you’ll react, unless you’ve used nitrous oxide before (like at the dentist).

If you do decide to use nitrous oxide, I think it’s best to have someone knowledgeable (doctor, nurse, midwife, doula, etc…) there to help monitor your usage.  My understanding is that you want to start gas 30 seconds before a contraction and end it 30 seconds after the contraction in order to get the most benefit.  So it would be helpful to have a labor partner that is very focused and attentive to the frequency/timing of your contractions so he/she can help you get the most out of it.

Post # 5
2344 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I’m bumping this, as I just read an article about it and I’m wondering if any recently pregnant members have thought about it? Using nitrous is experiencing a resurgence in America apparently. It sounds like it would be a good fit for me when I have a baby one day – I want a natural birth and have some hesitation about epidurals, but it would be nice to know there is SOMETHING that can help take the edge off with no effect to the baby.

Post # 6
801 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

A blog I follow had a post about this recently as well that peaked my interest.  I’d be more likely to want to do that than an epidural but since it isn’t widely available in the US at this time I am SOL.

Post # 7
4122 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@Mrs. Spring: count me as one of the people who get ill. I saw this post and almost puked. I honestly can’t imagine going through labor on it. THAT would be the worst part to me. I hate it and will NEVER touch that stuff again!

I would def. test it out first!

Post # 8
166 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

my daughter is 5 weeks old and while I did not use nitrous oxide during labour I did use it after giving birth. I asked for it minutes before starting to push and the midwife told me it would confuse me and I wouldn’t push as effectively. I am so glad I didn’t have it, because I used the gas afterwards for the stitches. I felt horrible on it. It made me feel really weird, almost drunk and it wore off pretty quickly. I still felt the pain when they gave me the local, but it distracted me, if that makes sense. If I were to give birth again I would not want to use it.

Post # 9
63 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

bump: interesting post … anyone else?

Post # 10
820 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

Agreed this is interesting…never heard of it for labor, would love more info. I remember loving getting it when I got my wisdom teeth removed. Of course, I also had novacaine so I don’t know how effective it would have been as my sole source of pain relief…. But I remember it making me feel very calm and happy.

Post # 11
3756 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

For me, it doesn’t work much at all. For me it only takes the edge off of my fear at the dentist…. but that is just me everyone is different. I am a little weird I suppose… I flip when I am about to get fillings and need the N.O. to keep from hyperventilating and throwing up, but then I gave birth completely naturally and was fine.

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