Nitrous oxide making a comeback to control labor pains

Castle Rock Adventist Hospital offering the option

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Little Elinn Becker is only three-weeks-old, and already she's making history at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital.

For the first time, new moms like Aubrey Becker, are considering an old solution to help control labor pains: nitrous oxide. Now, the hospital is just one of three south of the metro area to offer it.

"It's in and out of your system so quickly as a mom, but also for [the] baby," Becker said.

Susan McConaughy is a Certified Nurse Midwife and said while the epidural is still the most common form of pain relief for expecting moms, more women are considering the less-invasive option.

"You can get IV Fentanyl...it takes the edge off but you're really woozy and you're not really experiencing the birth like you want to," McConaughy said.

Nitrous oxide is already widely used in Europe and according to McConaughy, is safe for both mom and baby.

"Only the mother holds the mask and when she needs it, she starts breathing, she holds it up to her face and there's a sea," McConaughy described. "When she starts to get a little more relaxed she lets it go and it breaks the seal and it turns the gas off."

"It took a little bit of getting used to and stuff, but you get past all that real quick knowing you're getting the support of the nitrous," Becker said.

Becker eventually settled for an epidural, too, but said the nitrous helped get her ready for the big moment.

"For a lot of women, I think that will be enough and that will get them through and be a fabulous resource. For me, I wouldn't go back and change anything," Becker said.

Side-effects are rare and can include nausea.

Both University Hospital and Littleton Adventist Hospital also offer the option for expecting moms.

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