UC Davis Health Birth Center offers moms nitrous oxide during labor

pregnant mom during laborLaughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, is not just for the dentist’s office.

UC Davis Medical Center is now offering nitrous oxide as a pain relief option for mothers during labor. Mothers can breathe in this colorless, odorless nitrous oxide gas -- a blend of nitrous and oxygen -- using a mask that they hold over their mouth and nose to help them relax during contractions.

“Patients can time their contractions and breathe in the mask before each contraction starts,” said Cristina Gutierrez, chief of obstetric anesthesia at UC Davis Medical Center. “It doesn’t interfere with mom’s ability to push. It’s just another option that we can now provide to mothers to assist in pain relief, in addition to IV pain medicines and epidurals.”

Nitrous oxide gas was first used in labor during the 1930s and is considered safe for mother and baby.