Laughing gas is making a comeback in American delivery rooms.
Nitrous oxide (N2O), aka laughing gas, is used in dental offices throughout the United States and in maternity hospitals worldwide. In fact, the majority of mothers in Europe, Australia and Canada-all places with better maternal and newborn health outcomes than in the U.S.-rely on it to reduce labor pain. N2O was widely used in American delivery rooms until the 1960s, when epidurals became a popular marketing tool for hospitals. Today, "Nitrous oxide lacks pizzazz, with no companies or influential professional groups that stand to profit by its greater use," says midwife Judith Rooks, C.N.M., M.P.H., a former epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has researched the gas' safety, efficacy and benefits.
Nitrous oxide is far cheaper than epidurals, and because the laboring woman controls the mask, no anesthesiologist is necessary. When she feels a contraction coming, she inhales N2ORead More »from Retro Pain Relief