HCMC now offering laughing gas to women in labor

The Hennepin County Medical Center announced Friday it is now offering nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, to women in giving birth at their hospital.

HCMC began offering nitrous oxide to patients earlier this year to help the cope with pain during labor. Patients are taught how to self-administer the laughing gas whenever they feel they need it.

Doctors say the laughing gas does not take all the pain away, but it can make labor more enjoyable for women looking for a natural experience.

Studies have shown using nitrous oxide inhalation can actually reduce C-section rates and speed up labor process because the patient is able to relax and allow her body to do the work of labor, according to an HCMC statement.

“Women should have access to a variety of approaches to promote comfort, reduce pain, and help them feel safe and empowered during the experience of bringing a child into this world. This is another way to help our patients do this,” Sara Wendt, a clinical care supervisor at the HCMC Birth Center, said in a statement.