St Petersburg, FL — Nitrous oxide is now available for pregnant women in labor at St. Petersburg General Hospital.  New mothers now have a choice whether they want nitrous oxide or more conventional forms of pain management.

Nitrous Oxide is a pain management technology that allows the patient to control the amount of analgesia. The pain relief of nitrous oxide is a good alternative for women who want something in between feeling nothing - as with an epidural - and feeling everything.

According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as Laughing Gas, is mixed with half oxygen and breathed through a mask or a mouthpiece.  The laboring mother holds her own mask, so only she decides when to use it and how much she needs.  Ideally, she starts to breathe in the gas mixture about 30 seconds before a contraction begins.  This helps to work best about the same time as the contraction reaches its peak, to get the greatest amount of relief.  This takes the edge off the contraction in order to better cope with her labor and helps to relieve anxiety. As soon as the mask is pulled away, the effect of the gas in gone within a few breaths, with no residual effects to the mother or the baby.

This pain management option is safe, effective, inexpensive, non-invasive, and widely used in Canada, Europe, & Australia. It is great for patients who dislike needles. This approach preserves patient mobility and does not require additional patient monitoring. Nitrous oxide administration does not affect uterine activity and would not be expected to affect the course of the first and second stages of labor or rates of cesarean delivery.

“To be able to offer yet another effective pain management option for women in labor, allows us to stay in the forefront of healthcare innovation, better serving women of the St. Petersburg community,” emphasized Dina Freeze, Director of Women’s Services.

For more information regarding St Petersburg General Hospital Women’s Services please visit