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Providence Now Offers Nitrous Oxide for Pain Management during Labor

July 06, 2017

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Polson, MT—The Nesting Place at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center now offers nitrous oxide as a pain management alternative to laboring mothers.

Among the many benefits to women in labor is the ability to retain full mobility, whereas alternatives such as epidurals can compromise short-term muscle movement for many patients. Patients can still choose to have an epidural after nitrous oxide use.

Providence St. Joseph Medical Center offers the only board certified OB/GYN’s in the Mission Valley.

“It’s no secret that labor and delivery can be incredibly painful and physically taxing on mothers,” explains Kelly Bagnell, M.D., an OB/GYN at St. Joseph Medical Center. “We’re thrilled to offer our patients another choice for pain management during labor. Nitrous is a minimally invasive option that the mother can administer herself. It dulls the senses and can reduce the sense of pain throughout the process.”

Jamie Straub, D.O., OB/GYN adds, “Nitrous oxide in low doses is an anxiolytic (a drug used for anxiety relief) and an analgesic (a drug used for pain relief). Research has supported the reasonable efficacy, safety, and unique and beneficial qualities of nitrous oxide as an analgesic for labor and its use as a widely accepted component of quality maternity care. It is a low-cost option that has been widely used in Europe for decades, and has been gaining popularity in the United States in recent years. Our patients have been asking for it more often, and we’re excited to be able to meet their needs.”

Providence now offers nitrous oxide as a pain management alternative to laboring mothers in Missoula and Polson, Western Montana.

Nitrous oxide is a colorless and tasteless gas made for inhalation to provide analgesia during painful procedures. It is frequently used to relieve pain associated with dental surgery, although the concentration of Nitrous used in Labor and Delivery is different than that used with dental procedures. It is self-administered through an on-demand flow delivery system, and can be used in all stages of labor, including the third stage of labor, and to assist with managing pain during immediate postpartum procedures. Nitrous Oxide is also safe for mother and baby, as it is actually the only known pain relief method used for labor that is cleared from the body through the lungs, so as soon as the mask is pulled away, the nitrous effect is gone within a breath or two. It is simple to administer, has no adverse effects on the normal physiology and progress of labor, does not affect infant alertness during the early bonding period between a mother and her newborn and it does not affect breastfeeding, making it an optimal choice for laboring mothers.

Providence invites patients to consult with their OG/GYN to learn more about if they would be a candidate for nitrous oxide.