Laughing gas or nitrous oxide is used frequently in Calgary hospitals. It be may offered to birthing people that would like a little extra pain relief in the second stage of labor, while pushing. Nitrous oxide is generally safe for use throughout labor but like any medical intervention, it has some risks. We recommend our clients use the B.R.A.I.N. acronym to weigh the risks and benefits of their choices in labor. Let's have a look at the positives and negatives of nitrous oxide use for pain and anxiety relief during labor and birth:
- does not effect the release of oxytocin, therefore it will not disrupt the progress of your labor
- will not make the infant sleepy after birth
- does not interfere with breastfeeding
- there is no associated risk of infant resuscitation being necessary
- may help the birthing person to relax and reduce awareness of labor pains
- is easily self administered or discontinued
People who have had recent ear surgery or have a vitamin B-12 deficiency should not use nitrous oxide.