Nitrous Oxide for Pain Management

UConn Health Proudly Offers Nitrous Oxide

Every birth experience is different, just as every pregnancy is different.

As a mom, you most likely have an idea of how you want your experience to be. You may be nervous about feeling pain and want to feel as little pain as possible; or you might feel that it’s important to feel and experience the sensations of labor.

Nitrous oxide is an efficient and safe way to ease pain and anxiety during labor. Inhaling the gas before a contraction begins provides the most relief at the contraction’s peak. It can also relax your body and alleviate tension, which may help you better manage labor’s progression.

UConn Health recognizes this and is proud to offer patients nitrous oxide as an option for pain management. Our specially-trained nurses will be by your side to assist you in timing your breathing for maximum benefit, as well as assessing the analgesia’s effectiveness.

Unique Benefits

Nitrous oxide is self-administered, which means you have complete control over when and how much to use.

You may start and stop nitrous oxide as needed. It achieves rapid results, but can also be discontinued as easily as removing the mask. The effects subside immediately, and are completely gone within minutes.

Nitrous oxide is safe to use in all phases of labor. Should you need something more for your comfort, you may still choose other pain relief methods, such as an epidural.

What Does It Feel Like?

While every woman’s experience is different, use of the gas is explained as “taking the edge off” at the height of a contraction, making labor more tolerable.
The gas may make you feel drowsy, lightheaded, or even a little silly. It’s recommended that someone be with you while you are breathing the gas and you must be able to hold the mask to your own face. If you need to get out of bed, you will be asked to call a nurse to assist you.

Mom utilizing nitrous oxide in labor

Is Nitrous Oxide the Right Choice for You?

Nitrous oxide will give you fast-acting relief with fewer side effects than narcotics or an epidural.

Women with certain medical conditions or who are using certain medications should not take nitrous oxide. Discuss your options with your provider and talk about any questions or concerns before it’s time for delivery.

Delivering Safety

There are no known side effects of nitrous oxide for the baby. Because the gas is cleared through your lungs in one or two breaths, the baby does not feel the effects.

Additional Resources