BUFFALO, N.Y. — There's nothing funny about labor, but women who deliver at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo have a new option to make the miracle of birth just a little comical.
Mercy is the first hospital in Western New York to start re-offering nitrous oxide to women before they give birth. It's been used around the world for years and is starting to make come back in the U.S. now that moms want more options other than an epidural.
But this gas won't give turn the delivery room into a comedy club. It's a 50-50 mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. By comparison, the laughing gas used to fill cavities at the dentist is a 70-30 mix.
Mom is the only person who can use it. The nurses at Mercy make it very clear that the gas is not a "party favor." If anyone else tries to use the gas, all privileges are lost and that person is kicked out of the delivery room. A single inhale when a contraction starts is all that's needed to help a woman get through the peak of the pain. The effects are gone in 60 seconds.
Nitrous oxide doesn't affect baby or the breast milk. There's also no extra charge and it can be used along with an epidural.