An interview with Dr Courtney Lemieux + Dr Alison Nelson at Moreland OB/Gyn
Laughing Through Labor: New Pain Management Option Available ONLY at Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital
Planning for a baby involves a lot – setting up a nursery, whittling down that baby registry, reading a parenting book or two. It also involves planning your labor goals. And a big part of that is pain management. As with most planning processes, it is good to have options and to know those options ahead of time. Our group at Moreland OB/Gyn is so pleased to offer one more option to local area moms-to-be: nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”. I sat down with one of my Moreland OB/Gyn colleagues, Dr. Courtney Lemieux, to talk about this exciting new option for our patients.
Dr Courtney Lemieux
Dr. Nelson: What is nitrous oxide?
Dr. Lemieux: Nitrous oxide is a gas that is similar to laughing gas that is used at the dentist. However, it is a different concentration, so you don’t feel as loopy.
Dr. Nelson: How does the patient use it during labor?
Dr. Lemieux: The great thing about nitrous oxide is that it is controlled by the patient – meaning you give it to yourself. You hold a mask up to your nose and breathe it in during a contraction, and it wears off as soon as you stop breathing it in. There is a release valve, so it only works for you with inhalation and doesn’t leak gas into the entire room. It allows you to get up and walk around more easily, doesn’t require any extra monitoring of mom or baby, and keeps the control in the patient’s hands.
Dr. Nelson: One question a lot of our patients have regarding nitrous oxide is how it affects their option to have an epidural. What if a patient thinks she may want an epidural?
Dr. Lemieux: Another great thing about nitrous is that because it has such quick onset and offset, using it doesn’t delay an epidural! If you want to try to labor without an epidural as long as possible or have for a natural birth, nitrous is a wonderful option to take the edge off until you get your epidural or deliver your baby.
Dr. Nelson: Of course we always want to consider risks, along with talking about all these great benefits of nitrous oxide. What are the possible risks to mom? To baby?
Dr. Lemieux: The risks are minimal to mom and are more like side effects. People might experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and drowsiness. Nitrous is really low risk to baby because nitrous leaves baby’s system rapidly as soon as baby starts breathing.
If nitrous oxide sounds like an option you would like to have available to you during labor, call Moreland OB/Gyn today to set up an appointment with Dr. Lemieux or another one of our physicians. Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital is the ONLY hospital in the area that offers nitrous oxide as a pain management option during labor to our patients – and we would love to offer this option to you!!
Until next time, be well!