A Houston-area hospital says it hopes to make pregnancy a laughing matter

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When you think of laughing gas, you probably think of the dentist.

However, one local hospital is rethinking this dentist chair staple:

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands is reportedly offering nitrous oxide — better known as laughing gas — to women who are in labor at its Family Birthing Center as an alternative to other pain treatments.

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The hospital is said to be the first in the greater Houston area to offer mothers this option.

According to Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. Gregory Eads, the gas they are now offering during labor comes with a lower concentration of nitrous oxide than what patients receive at the dentist.

Doctors say expectant mothers choosing to use the method receive a 50/50 balance of oxygen and nitrous oxide pumped continuously through a mask, which they control.

“Labor and delivery can be painful and stressful to the mother, and we are excited to offer our patients another choice for pain management,” Dr. Eads said in an interview.

During labor, patients can take the mask off whenever they feel they don’t need the gas, such as in between contractions.

Dr. Eads said laughing gas gives women more choices, providing an alternative that some view as more natural:

“They can use that as they feel the contractions coming on. It’s a demand, so basically they put the mask over their face and it only flows when they breathe in. So, it doesn’t flow all the time and they breathe it in through the contractions and then stop after the contractions.”

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Since laughing gas is a reversible decision, women can change their mind and go drug-free or ask for the epidural when push comes to shove.

While some women may be cautious about trying a new treatment, medical studies show laughing gas is safe for women and their babies.

Additionally, it is not believed to affect the alertness of either the mother or the baby after birth during crucial bonding moments; women are also able to breastfeed after using the gas.

Here’s to all the Houston moms out there.

What do you think?

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