Laughing gas during labor gaining popularity at Vanderbilt

9:50 PM, Jul 30, 2011   |    comments
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Nashville, TN (WSMV) -- A new birth technique at Vanderbilt hospital is a huge hit with new moms.

Back in June, WSMV in Nashville reported that Vanderbilt is one of only three hospitals in the country offering mom's in labor a choice of laughing gas instead of epidural injections.

Doctors say the nitrous oxide masks the pain and does a little something extra.

"Nitrous oxide reduces the pain but it also decreases the anxiety," explains Assistant Professor of Anesthesia Sarah Starr.  "It makes the pain seem not very important and it's much less distressing."

At the time of our initial report, only six women had tried the new method. Since then, 36 women have chosen to use nitrous oxide during labor. Of those 36, 22 have used it as their sole form of pain relief.

"We're having more an more patients come in actually requesting it," said Starr. "They've either heard about it on the news or through their family and friends."

Another selling point for many new moms: The gas doesn't effect the baby, something many women worry about with epidurals.

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