Nitrous Oxide | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is commonly thought of as a medication used by dentists to help calm patients. Now it’s available to women in labor.

Nitrous oxide actually was common for labor in the 1800s before alternative pain medications and epidurals became available, said C. Reed Nett, M.D., OB/GYN with Advocates for Women’s Health, a part of Norton Women’s Care.

“The gas is safe to use and relatively simple to use, offering pain relief and decreased anxiety, among other benefits,” she said.

Nitrous oxide can reduce pain but does not cause sedation. Nitrous oxide is breathed in through a mask. The patient must be able to hold the mask herself and acknowledge the nurse to provide consent. The mask delivers the gas and captures her exhale.

Are There Nitrous Oxide Side Effects?

Nitrous oxide side effects can include dizziness, nausea and drowsiness, but that’s only while it’s being used. There are no long-term side effects for the mother, baby or staff. Women opting to use nitrous oxide are still able to move about, but may be unsteady on their feet.

A woman in labor choosing nitrous oxide has a nurse focused on her throughout labor and delivery

“Other countries have been using nitrous oxide as an option for expectant mothers for more than 75 years with no ill effects,” Dr. Nett said.

What If Nitrous Oxide Isn’t Taking Care of the Pain?

Epidural and other pain relievers can be given even if the patient has been using nitrous oxide.

“If a patient uses nitrous oxide and then decides she wants an epidural, we can fulfill her request. It is about providing her with options,” Dr. Nett said.

Women’s Health – 4GYN

Pregnant during a pandemic: What to expect and do if your due date is approaching

Pregnancy can be an exciting and challenging time no matter when you’re due. However, if your due date falls during a global pandemic, you may have a lot of questions. Should I change my birth […]

Read Full Story

How long after giving birth can you have sex?

Many factors can go into how long after giving birth you can have sex. Whether you delivered vaginally or via cesarean section, your body needs time to heal. Waiting at least six weeks after childbirth […]

Read Full Story

Coronavirus and pregnancy: What you need to know

Esta publicación también está disponible en español If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you may wonder how the coronavirus/COVID-19 could affect you and your baby. The OB/GYNs, midwives and other staff providing obstetric […]

Read Full Story

Postpartum anxiety is different from depression: Watch for symptoms

Postpartum anxiety symptoms are different from those of postpartum depression, and new moms can have one condition and not the other. They also can have both at the same time. Worrying about a new baby […]

Read Full Story

Water labor helps first-time mom have natural birth experience she wanted

Vanessa Aho’s grandmother gave birth at home in a small town in Portugal. Her mother also had experienced a natural birth. When Vanessa became pregnant with her first child, she knew that she wanted to […]

Read Full Story
Related Stories

Pregnant during a pandemic: What to expect and do if your due date is approaching

Pregnancy can be an exciting and challenging time no matter when you’re due. However, if your due date falls during a global pandemic, you may have a lot of questions. Should I change my birth […]

Read Full Story

How long after giving birth can you have sex?

Many factors can go into how long after giving birth you can have sex. Whether you delivered vaginally or via cesarean section, your body needs time to heal. Waiting at least six weeks after childbirth […]

Read Full Story

Coronavirus and pregnancy: What you need to know

Esta publicación también está disponible en español If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you may wonder how the coronavirus/COVID-19 could affect you and your baby. The OB/GYNs, midwives and other staff providing obstetric […]

Read Full Story

Postpartum anxiety is different from depression: Watch for symptoms

Postpartum anxiety symptoms are different from those of postpartum depression, and new moms can have one condition and not the other. They also can have both at the same time. Worrying about a new baby […]

Read Full Story

Water labor helps first-time mom have natural birth experience she wanted

Vanessa Aho’s grandmother gave birth at home in a small town in Portugal. Her mother also had experienced a natural birth. When Vanessa became pregnant with her first child, she knew that she wanted to […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.