SPOKANE, Wash. -- Soon-to-be moms are turning to laughing gas to help with labor pains.
Holy Family Family hospital started offering nitrous oxide to soon-to-be moms about two weeks ago. The hospital has two nitrous oxide machines, which is about one machine for every 10 delivery rooms. They hope to add more as patient demand increases.
"So far we've had ten moms that have opted to use it. Varying degrees of how they've liked it. Some have absolutely loved it. Others have said it's great, but I'm ready for my epidural. It's a nice option for them to use besides just having epidural or narcotics or pain during labor," said Holy Family Nurse Manager Deanna Berezay.
As far as health risks go Berezay said nitrous oxide does not have any. She said using nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is actually an old process that is become new again.
"We have a check list that we go through with the patients. If they have some medical problems that are on our safety check list like vitamin B deficiencies, those or the cases when it wouldn't be appropriate for use," Berezay explained.
Patients can ask to use nitrous oxide and an epidural, but not at the same time. The nitrous oxide can only be used up until the epidural kicks in.
"The epidural, once it’s administered takes about 10 to 15 minutes to kick in. But the nitrous oxide will kick in after four to six breaths," Berezay said.
Comparing the two, nitrous oxide helps moms relax and feel calm whereas an epidural decreases the sensation of pain. New mom Raven Kranz-Russell said she used nitrous oxide when she was in labor with her first child. She said it worked really well.