From the January 2016 issue

‘Laughing Gas’ Offered at Local Hospital to Help Ease Labor Pain

St. Joseph Mercy Health System Ann Arbor is the first hospital locally to offer nitrous oxide in its birthing center to help manage pain for moms to be.

Labor typically isn’t a funny event. That said, a mild pain-management method commonly called “laughing gas” might seriously calm some moms-to-be.

St. Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor recently became the first southeast Michigan hospital to offer nitrous oxide in its birthing center. FDA approved, the option is for women who want minimal intervention, pre-epidural pain relief or whose labor goes “too fast” for an epidural or other narcotics, St. Joe noted in a statement.

Inhaled and exhaled through a mask, the gas reduces stress by stimulating endorphins. Women stay alert. Minor side effects include dizziness or nausea.

It’s part of a larger nationwide resurgence. Other area hospitals in the St. Joe network are considering using it this year too, a media rep tells Metro Parent.

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