What Every Expectant Mother Should Know
- When it comes to using anesthesia in childbirth, most women fall into one of three categories:
- Those who are quite certain they will want pain relief.
- Those who are unsure of their pain relief options, and how they will affect their labor and delivery.
- Those who would prefer to give birth without any pain relief.
No matter which category you fall into, it is important for you to know how anesthesia and pain relief are used in labor and delivery. Even if you fall into the latter category, remember the old adage: It’s a woman’s privilege to change her mind! No two women experience childbirth in quite the same way, so it is important to keep your options open. Every woman should be prepared for the possibility of needing an anesthetic. Epidurals are available if needed. Talk to one of our staff about the best plan for you.
Nitrous oxide as an alternative treatment for pain relief
Valley View Hospital is proud to be one of the few hospitals in Colorado to offer this additional, safe pain relief method.
Nitrous Oxide is a safe and effective method of pain relief in laboring women. Widely used in Europe for decades as a pain relief option, Nitrous Oxide has become increasingly popular in the United States.
The Nitrous Oxide in our birthing center is 50 percent nitrous and 50 percent oxygen — a much lower concentration of nitrous than used at a dentist office, resulting in less side effects and sedation. Within 30 seconds of inhaling nitrous you will begin to feel some pain relief, therefore we encourage you to begin inhaling just before each contraction and through its duration. When you are not breathing in the nitrous the effect wears off within minutes. Best of all, you will still be able to move around while using nitrous oxide, so you may make use it while standing, squatting, sitting in a rocking chair or on a birth ball. About 10 percent of nitrous users may experience some dizziness, therefore your nurse or provider may assist you in getting out of bed.
Use of Nitrous Oxide in labor has not been shown to slow labor or have any adverse effects on the baby, and there is no point in your labor when it is too late to use this method of pain relief. Women who use nitrous may still choose to have an epidural at a later point in their labor. Using nitrous earlier in labor can allow you to remain mobile and upright longer, promoting the baby’s descent before being confined to bed with an epidural.