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Chesapeake Regional Is First Community Hospital in Southside To Offer Laboring Women A New Form of Pain Relief

CHESAPEAKE - Beginning Nov. 12, 2018, women in labor at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center’s BirthPlace will be among the first in our area with access to Nitrous Oxide as a form of pain management during childbirth. Women using it can control their own pain relief by choosing when to put the mask on and when to take it off, increasing their sense of control and well-being.

Commonly known as laughing gas and used in dental procedures around the world, the mixture for laboring moms consists of 50 percent nitrous oxide and 50 percent oxygen. It has been used to relieve pain and anxiety for more than 100 years in many countries around the world, but until recently has been uncommon among laboring women in the United States.

The mixture is approved by the FDA to help manage pain throughout the body without causing a total loss of feeling or loss of muscle movement. It begins working within a minute, is less invasive than epidural anesthesia or injectable opioids and is safe for the mother and fetus, with no adverse effects on the normal progression of labor or breastfeeding.  

Nitrous oxide appeals to women who are looking for a low intervention, natural birth but who need a little extra help coping with the pain and anxiety of labor. It works by increasing endorphins and dopamine, known as happy hormones and other natural opioids in the brain while decreasing the release of anxiety and cortisol, a stress hormone.

There is a wide variety of comfort and pain relief measures to choose from at Chesapeake Regional. In addition to IV pain medication and epidurals, women can also labor in a warm tub set up in their room to provide comfort during and between contractions. The warm water and large tub create a protective bubble to help reduce anxiety and create more privacy.

To read more about nitrous oxide, you may refer to these websites:

•           https://evidencebasedbirth.com/wrap-up-of-pain-management-series/

•           http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/nitrous-oxide-labor/

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