SPOKANE, Wash. – Deaconess Hospital announced Monday they will now offer Nitrous Oxide for expectant mothers to help manage pain while delivering.

Deaconess is the first hospital in the Spokane area to offer the service and one of the few in the entire state of Washington.

Nitrous Oxide – which has been offered across the United States for over 30 years – presents immediate pain relief and lowers anxiety, hospital officials said.

The gas would be self-administered by the patient under the eye of trained labor and delivery nurses. Patients remain awake and alert while the gas is used, and can still use all their motor functions.

There is no smell or taste with the gas and it enters and leaves the body through the lungs so it does not accumulate in the mother. Hospital officials said numerous studies show there are no ill effects on the baby.

“We are proud to be the first hospital in the area to offer this service,” Dr. Lori Smetana, Deaconess’ OB Services Director, said. “Our primary goal is to support our patients. Nitrous oxide presents a safe and effective means to make our patients as comfortable as possible while offering them another form of pain management.”

If you would like to learn more about the service, call the Deaconess Labor and Delivery office at 509-473-7241.