An Alternative for Pain Management

At Swedish, we believe women should have options for coping with labor pain. Every woman will experience labor differently, so learning about pain relief measures and planning ahead is important. Using Nitrous Oxide in labor is an option Swedish now offers to our patients. Ask your midwife or doctor for more information.

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a clear, colorless gas that's usually mixed 50/50 with oxygen for laboring moms. When breathed in, it leads to slight feelings of euphoria, relaxation and detachment from your current situation. In small doses - like what dentists use to help patients relax during a cavity filling - nitrous oxide is considered an analgesic, or pain relief.

How Does it Work?

Nitrous Oxide can be administered quickly, easily, and safely, and has a rapid onset of action. After explanation from our anesthesia team, you will hold the mask to your face and inhale the gas just before a contraction begins. You will feel the effects immediately and they will dissipate when you stop breathing in the gas.

Benefits of Nitrous Oxide

  • It is safe for mother and baby
  • It is eliminated quickly through the lungs and does not accumulate in the body It does not interfere with the progress of labor
  • Newborn responsiveness, alertness, breastfeeding are not affected
  • If you decide to stop using Nitrous Oxide, you still have the option to try another method of pain relief 

Side Effects of Nitrous Oxide

Some women experience nausea while using the gas. It's important to have someone with you while using Nitrous Oxide, although no one can administer the gas for you.