Portland hospital offers nitrous oxide to moms in labor - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland hospital offers nitrous oxide to moms in labor

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Cheryl Thiele takes advantage of nitrous oxide during labor at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center (Photo: Legacy Health) Cheryl Thiele takes advantage of nitrous oxide during labor at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center (Photo: Legacy Health)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Women giving birth at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center have a new option to make labor a little easier: nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas.

Legacy Emanuel is the first hospital in Portland to offer the gas during labor.

Unlike commonly-used pain relief methods like epidural injections, nitrous oxide is inhaled through a face mask. Legacy says that allows mothers to control how much they receive by breathing as much or as little of the gas as they want.

Legacy says the nitrous oxide is mixed with 50 percent oxygen and the effects of the gas dissipate within a few seconds of taking the mask off the face.

Cheryl Thiele gave birth at Legacy Emanuel this week using nitrous oxide, and she said she liked having it available as an option.

"I didn't want anything too invasive or extra needles or poking that I didn't want, so when they said it was available and I'd get to try it for the first time, I was ready," Thiele said.

Thiele said she had a good experience with nitrous oxide and was glad she didn't need any additional pain medication during labor.

"I felt like it really did take the edge off and made me feel like I can get through this labor without anything else," Thiele said.

Thiele gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Mom and baby were discharged from the hospital Wednesday.

According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, nitrous oxide has been used in many countries for years and there's no evidence to suggest it has any significant effects on the unborn child or the progress of labor.

ACNM says nitrous oxide is a safe and inexpensive alternative to epidurals and narcotics.

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