MHP is proud to continually grow and implement new services to best serve
our patients. As part of this eﬀort, MHP Maternity Care now oﬀers nitrous
oxide as a pain management option during labor and delivery. You can learn
more about this service and more, as well gather additional maternity,
newborn, car seat and safety education at our upcoming
Bump2Baby & Beyond maternal health fair on April 13.
What is nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide (also known as nitrous or laughing gas) is a colorless, nonﬂammable,
tasteless, and odorless gas that can be inhaled in low-doses during labor
and delivery to take the edge oﬀ the pain and anxiety. It is self-administered
on-demand by the patient via a mask. The system uses a low-dose mixture
of the gas, 50 percent nitrous oxide mixed with 50 percent oxygen; and
usually within 15 seconds of use, women feel more relaxed. The pain will
not be totally gone but will become more manageable. Our staﬀ gives instructions
on how to properly use the nitrous.
Is nitrous oxide safe?
The 50/50 mixture of gas and air has been shown to have few side eﬀects.
It has a long record of safe outcomes for both mother and baby. Both will
be checked before nitrous is started and intermittently checked during
labor to make sure both are well.
When can a laboring mother use nitrous?
Nitrous may be used in any stage of labor or pushing and after birth, as
long both mother and the baby have been checked and remain well.
What if the patient doesn’t like it? Can they try a diﬀerent pain relief?
Nitrous is very fast acting and can also be discontinued very quickly.
If the mother ﬁnds that she doesn’t like it or becomes uncomfortable,
she can simply stop breathing into the mask and tell the nurse she would
like to stop using it. Nitrous eﬀects go away within a few minutes of
breathing regular air. If she prefers a diﬀerent pain medication or an
epidural, the nurse will notify the provider.
Are there any side eﬀects?
The user may experience nausea, vomiting, or lightheadedness.
Can someone aid in the use of nitrous oxide?
No. The laboring mother is the only person controlling the amount of nitrous
Is there any reason a patient in labor wouldn’t be able to use nitrous oxide?
It cannot be used if the mother:
• Cannot hold her own face mask
• Has a severe vitamin B12 deficiency
• Has a medical condition that may result in the health care provider
advising against the use of the gas. This will be assessed during the
evaluation of the mother’s medical history.
Be sure to discuss any questions about pain management during labor with
your provider or nurse.