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WakeMed Now Offers Nitrous Oxide for Labor Pains

WakeMed is pleased to now offer nitrous oxide as an option to manage pain during childbirth.

Nitrous oxide, often referred to as “laughing gas,” is used to control labor pains and ease anxiety for moms-to-be while in labor. It is available to laboring mothers at WakeMed’s three hospitals in RaleighNorth Raleigh and Cary.

At WakeMed, mothers-to-be can choose the approach — or combination of approaches — that safely suits their individual needs and preferences to manage labor pains. We encourage you to talk to your doctor about the different types of labor pain relief that are available to you and make a plan to ensure you are as comfortable as you want to be throughout your labor.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide for labor pain relief contains 50 percent nitrous gas and 50 percent oxygen. It is self-administered by the patient — through a face mask — during childbirth. While in labor, the patient places the mask on her face and breathes deeply before a contraction begins. Laboring mothers can also choose to stop any time if they find they don’t want nitrous oxide.

Will nitrous oxide affect my baby?

Nitrous oxide use does not affect your baby because it leaves the body after just a few breaths. Additionally, because it leaves your body so quickly, nitrous oxide does not affect the progress of labor.

Can I still have an epidural?

If you plan to have an epidural, you can use nitrous oxide before the epidural is placed. You cannot, however, use an epidural and nitrous oxide at the same time.

Have Your Baby with Us

With three birthing centers throughout Wake County, WakeMed delivers the most babies in Wake County. Our birthing centers offer:

Learn more about birth and pregnancy at WakeMed.