If you're pregnant, you've probably been giving a lot of thought about labor and the pain that accompanies it. You might even be considering the types of pain management options that are available to you. If you're going to be using a midwife, you may be interested in non-narcotic methods of pain relief and relaxation.
You should know that many healthcare practitioners are looking towards laughter – laughing gas that is – when it comes to relieving the discomforts of labor. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is now being utilized here in the United States for labor and delivery. Here are four ways that laughing gas can benefit you during labor.
Helps with Needle Phobia
If you suffer from needle phobia, the thought of blood tests or IVs may cause you to have a panic attack. A small amount of nitrous oxide prior to blood being drawn – or the insertion of the IV – will help calm your nerves so you don't panic.
Provides Pain Relief during Final Stages
Even if you've made it through your entire labor without pain medication, those final moments can be difficult. Pain and exhaustion may make it difficult for you to find the energy to push. Nitrous oxide can help take your mind off the pain so you can focus on what's important – pushing your baby out of your body.
Takes Effect Quickly
Unlike narcotics that have to build up in your system to provide relief, nitrous oxide begins to work immediately. Once the mask is on your face – and you're taking deep breaths – you'll be able to feel the nitrous oxide taking effect.
You Control the Dosage
Nitrous oxide allows you to control the dosage you receive. Your midwife will set up the nitrous tank and place the mask on your face. From that point on, you'll control the amount you use. If you don't need relief, simply remove the mask. When pain becomes intense, place the mask back on your face. You won't have to wait for your midwife or doctor to provide you with pain relief.
Now that you're pregnant, you want to start planning for the labor and delivery. Pain management and relaxation techniques are crucial elements of those plans. The information provided above will help you understand the benefits of nitrous oxide during labor. For more information about pain relief and relaxation, be sure to talk to a midwife or other healthcare practitioner, such as George L Stankevych MD.