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Laughing Gas May Not Ease Pain During Childbirth


Preliminary research published in Health Daily News concludes that laughing gas (nitrous oxide) may not ease childbirth pain as much as once thought. The research finds that the majority of women who request laughing gas also ask for an epidural as well.

Many countries, including the United States, often administer the laughing gas to mothers in labor to ease their pain. The gas is inhaled and is used for an average of 80 minutes. It is also said to reduce anxiety and make patients less aware of pain.

Lead investigator Dr. Caitlin Sutton, who is an obstetric anesthesiology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California concluded, ". . . we found that for the majority of patients, nitrous oxide does not prevent them from requesting an epidural. While nitrous oxide may be somewhat helpful, epidural anesthesia remains the most effective method for managing labor pain."

Sutton claims further research needs to be conducted in order to find out which women would benefit most from nitrous oxide. This research has yet to be peer reviewed.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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