BIRTHING SPA AIMS TO RELIEVE BIRTHING PAIN
Ephraim McDowell Fort Logan Hospital is the first in the state to offer an alternative option for pain relief to women in labor in the form of nitrous oxide – more commonly known as “laughing gas.”
Providing support and comfort in various ways to
Miller said the use of nitrous oxide during labor was fairly common in the 1950’s but when epidural anesthesia came into
Now, Fort Logan Hospital’s Birthing Spa is bringing it back as a safe, new option for pain relief and in turn allowing mothers more control over the entire birthing experience.
“We in our unit found, when we started hearing again about the nitrous oxide, that it just fit really well with our philosophy of trying to offer choices to moms,” Miller said.
Miller said while epidural anesthesia still seems to be the most prominent pain management option offered to women in labor, the positive benefits have yet to be made evident.
“Epidurals cost a lot and haven’t shown the benefits. And they changed labor from a low-risk setting to a high-risk setting,” Miller said. “With an epidural, we know that it drops the mom’s blood pressure, so they have to have an IV ahead of time and load up on fluids to try to prevent the drop in blood pressure, and then it can still happen. Then you have to monitor the baby’s heart tones.”
Miller said water births on the other hand have proven to show benefits such as lower cost and shortening the length of labor by naturally relaxing the
“When we remodeled and built the new hopsital eight years ago I wanted to change the name to ‘birthing spa’ and we’re really the only unit in the nation that uses that term,” he said.
It’s that variety of resources and ongoing support from the entire unit’s medical staff that brings expectant mothers from all over to Fort Logan Hospital, Miller said.
“That was the idea, we try to
Miller said there are several pain management
“The nitrous oxide just seemed like it was one more thing we could offer,” he said. “We can try the tub, the walking, the garden, the massage chair and position changes, all of those kinds of things.”
As he prepares mothers for child birth, Miller said he tells them there is going to be about a three-hour period where they are going to wish they could quit and go home and the nitrous oxide could help during that time period.
“The nitrous oxide seems like it would come in handy during that time to help lessen anxiety and relax them and make them experience less pain,” he said.
Nitrous oxide isn’t incredibly potent and it won’t take away all of the pain but it relaxes mothers enough to where they are less bothered by the pain, he added.
“It’s very fast acting so when the pain is starting to contract, they
In a statement released by the hospital Shannon Goff, director of the Birthing Spa, said the unit is excited to offer new pain management for mothers-to-be.
“The patient controls it herself, so she can use it as much or as little as she feels necessary,” Goff said.
According to the release, women can also use the nitrous oxide earlier in their labor than they would typically get an epidural.
Miller said he expects other hospitals to adopt the use of nitrous oxide again at some point but he’s not sure that all will since it requires a more hands-on presence from medical staff.
“There’s a lot of hands on help and it’s just a really different experience altogether,” he said. “Birth is very challenging but it’s an engineering marvel. We’ve found that the simple things that support mom seem to work the best and don’t delay the process.”
By Abigail Whitehouse