Hospitals Are Now Offering Laughing Gas to Pregnant Women as an Alternative to Epidurals. Crazy, But True!
So, it seems that there is now a new, and slightly kooky alternative to both extremes of the childbearing experience. While there are moms who prefer to bring their child into the world “drug-free,” sans of any kind of pain medication, and there are others who would administer their own epidural if they could, in countries like the U.K., Australia, and Scandinavia, women are being offered laughing gas as an aid during labor. No, the gas doesn’t exactly wash away the pain like a good ol’ epidural would, but it has been known to help distract women from their labor pains, and/or “make them care less about it,” according to science writer Christene Szalinski, who reported on the subject.
Unlike an epidural, the laughing gas can be administered at anytime during labor, and is as safe for baby as it is for mama. According to Szalinski’s Slate piece, there are 12 hospitals in the U.S. who are using nitrous oxide, also known as the Nitronox system, in their maternity wards. It sounds like something out of The Matrix, doesn’t it?
While The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists aren’t exactly gung-ho about this new system, they aren’t opposed to it either: “At this time . . . [we do] not have guidelines or recommendations on the use of nitrous oxide during labor.”
As crazy and unreal as a laughing gas birth sounds, I truly am intrigued. Even if it doesn’t distract me from the incredible pain of a natural birth, it would most certainly produce some priceless and “LOL” video footage!