Health Matters: UAMS now offering nitrous oxide for pregnant women during labor

Health Matters

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.– Childbirth can be intimidating for some women. Now, UAMS is offering a new option for moms in labor who want a low intervention experience.

“From walking in pregnancy to less pain medications to no epidural,” says Dr. Nirvana Manning, Women’s Health Service Line Director.

Doctors are introducing nitrous oxide during labor. Many of you know it as the laughing gas. It’s been used during labor in the United Kingdom for years. Women inhale the gas intermittently when it’s time to give birth.

“It can certainly help decrease those anxieties, make people in more euphoric state where they just don’t care,” says Doctor Manning.

Dr. Nirvana Manning says after launching nitrous oxide this month, it’s become so popular that her patients have brought it up during OBGYN visits saying they’re interested in using it when the time comes.

“Anybody can try it and by no means does it mean that if you try this you can’t go further and if it’s not working for what you need, get an epidural,” she says.

Moms control the gas mask and start breathing it in right before contractions start.

“The nitrous does not have any impact on the baby in utero. Once they come out, what mom has breathed in, baby breathes that with their first breathe within 3 minutes,” says Renee Yeager, UAMS Midwife.

UAMS is the first to offer this in Central Arkansas. Doctors believe this is the beginning.

“I see this exploding. I would love for UAMS and our team to offer much more in the way of low intervention,” says Dr. Manning.

The hospital will not charge patients for nitrous oxide.

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