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Nitrous oxide now available for pain relief during labor and delivery in Long Prairie

Published in Media Releases Author: CentraCare

CentraCare Health – Long Prairie has expanded the options available to women for pain management during labor and delivery.

Long used in Europe and Canada, nitrous oxide gained favor more recently in the United States. It’s been available since February in Long Prairie.

Nitrous oxide is a clear, colorless gas that is mixed 50 percent nitrous oxide with 50 percent oxygen for laboring moms, which is a different blend than typically used in dental offices. When breathed in, it can help relieve pain and reduce anxiety.

According to Jennifer Christensen, a certified nurse midwife in Long Prairie, a few hospitals in Minnesota began offering this option in 2015. Christensen was a part of the team at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park to introduce it in the Twin Cities and wrote her master’s Capstone on this pain management method.

“This is the only patient-controlled medication available to laboring mothers. It comes through a mask or a mouthpiece which is held only by the mom so she can decide how often she needs relief,” Christensen said. “They can use it early in their labor and it can help as a ‘bridge’ to having an epidural or it can be used throughout the labor, birth, and postpartum stages.”