Woman in labor holding a nitrous oxide mask over her face.

Nitrous Oxide During Labor: Helpful or Harmful?

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a colorless and odorless substance that you may also know as “laughing gas.” While most think that dentists only use this pain relief method, medical professionals sometimes use it to alleviate feelings of pain and anxiety during labor. While nitrous oxide is considered to be generally safe, there are some risks that you should be aware of.

Why Is Nitrous Oxide Used During Labor?

Some women opt for nitrous oxide during labor because it is known to have the following benefits:

  • It does not interfere with the progression of labor
  • It does not affect the infant’s alertness
  • It does not negatively impact breastfeeding
  • It does not increase the risk of neonatal resuscitation
  • Women are in control of their own dosage during the labor and delivery process

The use of nitrous oxide can be quickly discontinued, and its effects disappear within 5 minutes after discontinued use.

What are the Side Effects of Nitrous Oxide

Although there are benefits to using nitrous oxide, there are some side-effects such as sedation, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. While these side-effects are mild, when nitrous oxide isn’t delivered appropriately, it can increase the risk of severe complications. The following are safety requirements for the use of nitrous oxide:

  • Concentration must not exceed 50%
  • Must be self-administered by patient holding the mask to her face
  • The equipment releasing the nitrous oxide must use scavenging equipment (machines used to collect and remove the waste of anesthetic gases) and have a demand valve (a ventilation device)

Did Complications During Labor Cause a Birth Injury? We Can Help.

When complications during labor and delivery could have been prevented, it can be devastating — especially when it poses the risk of long-term problems for you and your baby. When medical professionals fail to act appropriately and give patients the legal standard of care, we are here to help you hold them accountable for their negligence.

The Beasley Firm, LLC is here to help protect your rights and pursue compensation and justice against the responsible parties. You can trust us to support you through a difficult time.

Contact The Beasley Firm, LLC at (215) 866-2424 to schedule a free consultation with our caring team today.