Hunterdon Medical Center (HMC) announced that it is now offering nitrous oxide as a pain relief option to laboring mothers. Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is a colorless and tasteless mixture of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen, which is safe for mother and baby.
According to Catherine McCabe, CNM, APN-C, of All Women’s Healthcare, “I have been practicing as a Certified Nurse Midwife at HMC for 12 years and I am so excited to finally offer nitrous oxide to my patients in labor, pre-labor and post-labor if needed.” She continued, “Nitrous oxide is a century old form of pain relief that is safer than other medications such as narcotics and epidural. It allows women to be in control and remain upright and mobile in between contractions. Women love it!”
Nitrous Oxide is a gas which is inhaled through a self-administered mask and delivered through an on-demand flow delivery system. With clinical supervision by a nurse, the patient is in charge of administering her own N2O to help manage her personal pain and anxiety. The gas is inhaled with each breath from approximately 30 seconds before a contraction begins and through to the end of the contraction. This timing helps the gas to gain optimal effectiveness at about the same time a contraction reaches its peak. During the use of nitrous oxide, women remain awake and alert with complete motor and sensory function, allowing women who use nitrous oxide to be more mobile during labor.
Jen Dillon of Bloomsbury, NJ, chose nitrous oxide for the birth of her second child at Hunterdon Medical Center. “Nitrous oxide allowed me to be in complete control of my body during labor while providing just enough of a calming sensation to help me through the pain.” She added, “I felt present and in control which was an amazing and drastically different experience compared to when I had an epidural with my first child.”
Minimal side effects reported by laboring women include nausea or dizziness, which can quickly dissipate after the patient stops breathing nitrous oxide and takes a few deep breaths of room air.
Jennifer Coffin, Director of Maternal and Newborn Care Services says that, “Improving the patient experience and satisfaction in the labor process and safely delivering healthy babies is our goal. By offering Nitrous Oxide we empower women with another option to manage their discomfort.”
A Twice Monthly E-Newsletter