Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, can provide some pain relief during labor. Nitrous oxide is a gas commonly used during anesthesia and give reasonable pain relief. However, considerable training is required to inhale the gas. The gas is provided in combination with oxygen via a breathing circuit and a mask. The nurse will train you to hold the mask and breath the gases when you begin sensing uterine contraction. As you breath gases throughout the contraction, nitrous oxide provides some pain reief. You take away the mask as the uterine contraction pain becomes less intense towards the end of the contraction. You breath room air normally before the next contractions sets in and the process of inhalation is begun all over again. This is a process that requires training and your active participation. The effect of nitrous oxide on the baby is minimal to none significant.
Nitrous oxide is used in several countries with high standard of healthcare, such as Canada, Sweden, Australia, Finland and United Kingdom. Nitorus oxide is available in some instutions in United States. In the countries listed, a blend of 50% oxygen and 50% nitours oxide is used to treat pain of labor. There has been a growing trend of using nitrous oxide for providing pain relief during labor and childbirth in United States