ISHPEMING — UP Health System — Bell understands there’s a physical uneasiness that comes with childbirth. That’s why UPHS — Bell is now offering nitrous oxide as a pain relieving option for mothers during their labor and birthing process.
“Nitrous oxide gives our patient’s another alternative for the discomforts of labor,” said UPHS — Bell OB manager, Lenora Olgren. “It is less invasive and allows the patient to be mobile. We want our patients to have the option to choose their method of pain relief and to help make their birthing experience personal and positive.”
UPHS — Bell also offers un-medicated labor, medications through an IV and an epidural or intrathecal. The hospital began offering nitrous oxide in May of 2018.
“It definitely helps them relax,” Olgren said of nitrous oxide. “It doesn’t necessarily take away all the pain, but it relaxes them so they can cope with the contractions better.”
Clinical studies with nitrous oxide have not shown any negative side effects to the baby. It is delivered through a machine at the patient’s bedside, and the machine features a one-way valve, so the patient only breathes the gases when taking in a breath. The gases take effect quickly, and the patient will likely feel relaxed and less anxious, leading to less discomfort and improved coping ability during the birthing. Mothers can also elect to go with an epidural in addition to the nitrous oxide if they so choose.
If the Mom decides against the nitrous oxide while taking it, she just has to take the mask off and take in a few deep breaths. The most common side effect is nausea, which is quickly eliminated with the deep breaths without the mask on.
Nitrous oxide is combined with oxygen in a 50-50 concentration. In the past, it was known to be used for patients in a dentist office, but nitrous oxide used for birthing has a less concentrated dosage.
“We’ve used it with a lot of our patients,” Olgren said. “I think it’s helped people relax more through their labor. It helps them cope better with the contract
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For more information about childbirth and women’s health at UP Health System — Bell, click here.