More Hoosier women using laughing gas to ease childbirth pains

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Laughing gas is making a comeback in central Indiana delivery rooms.

Using nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, during labor is becoming more popular for expectant moms across the country.

At St. Vincent Women’s Hospital, many women are choosing it to get through the pain without having an epidural or using narcotic like Nubain and morphine.

One mom spoke with CBS4 less than 24 hours after she used laughing gas during her delivery.

She says she chose laughing gas because doctors say it doesn’t make its way into the baby’s bloodstream and she wanted to preserve her own birthing experience.

“It allows you to be present. I think and I felt more connected during the delivery,” said Katie Reiff. “There was no way that I wouldn’t want to just not feel and not be a part of that.”

Labor and delivery nurse Shelly Haynes was skeptical at first, but says she’s seen enough women benefit from it to become a believer.

“She went from being completely uncomfortable, couldn’t sit still, to not laughing, but like, she looked up and was like, ‘Oh my God it’s working!’” said Haynes.

Laughing gas used to be offered decades ago during delivery, but powerful epidurals that do more to eliminate pain replaced it.

At St. Vincent, the nitrous oxide offered today is a 70-30 concentration of nitrous oxide.

Haynes says she’s met people who have chosen St. Vincent because they offer nitrous oxide. If you’re interested, you should ask if your preferred hospital offers it while making your birth plan.

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