Midwife Monday-Using Nitrous Oxide (N2O) in Labor for Pain Relief

Midwife Monday-Nitrous Oxide Let's get happy in labor

Posted by Holistic Heritage Homebirth on Monday, January 7, 2019

In this weeks Midwife Monday Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Jaelin Stickels talks about using N2O in labor.

What is Nitrous Oxide (N2O)?

“Gas and Air” is known as Nitrous oxide here in the states. It is a 50/50 mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen. It is a nonflammable, tasteless, odorless gas. It has been used in labor in other western countries in laboring women for over 30 years. In the UK 60% of laboring women use N2O, 50 % in Australia, and almost 50% in Canada and Finland

How is it used?

The client breathes in the gas and air right before the contraction begins and stops as the contraction is coming down or when it is over. It is self-administered, so the client will automatically stop inhalation when relief has been met.

Is there a limit to how much you can use?

There is no limit and it can be used through all stages of labor, birth, and post partum if a repair is needed.

Is it safe in labor? Does it affect babies?

Nothing is 100 percent safe. There are no known effects on mothers and babies in the 30 years it has been used in Europe. According to APGAR scores post-delivery no effects on newborns is seen. It is not thought that the limited use of the low dose being used today will cause any issues, but we simply don’t know. There are animal studies with higher doses for prolonged periods that it can affect DNA changes cause animals to have an increased sensitivity to anesthetics and long term effects of learning in animal studies.

Are there any side effects to worry about?

The most common side effect is nausea and maybe vomiting.

What are the restrictions about that?

No restrictions

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