February 12, 2017

Does Laughing Gas Work For Managing Labor Pain?

Nitrous Oxide, better known as laughing gas, is quickly gaining interest in the United States as an option for expectant mothers to manage labor pains [1]. A recent study discovered that the use of nitrous oxide is not a very beneficial pain reliever when giving birth.

Although this innovative method may serve as an interesting and somewhat helpful method to manage labor pain, an epidural remains the most effective method. A study by Dr. Caitlin Sutton, an obstetric anesthesiology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, points out that while nitrous oxide is gaining popularity, the majority of patients ended up requesting an epidural as well.

Furthermore, the research justified its claim by reviewing the medical records of 4700 women who delivered vaginally and only 148 of those women used nitrous oxide as their method of a pain reliever. On average, there was no change in the pain scale (0-10) before and after nitrous oxide. However, there is some promise in using nitrous oxide and more research will have to be performed to determine which women would benefit most from using laughing gas during labor.

[1] “‘Laughing Gas’ May not Ease Pain during Childbirth” Preidt, Robert. WebMd. Retrieved From: http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20161024/laughing-gas-may-not-ease-pain-during-childbirth-study

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