laughing gas at birth

Nitrous oxide at birth? What's it all about?

goal of therapy Nitrous oxide during childbirth is to relieve the expectant mother's fears, create a feel-good atmosphere and significantly reduce the sensation of pain.

Laughing gas is one of the oldest and best-researched methods of Sedation and has been used successfully in obstetrics for many decades to offer patients an alternative to PDA (epidural anesthesia).

In many of Germany's neighboring countries, nitrous oxide is used every day in obstetrics. Great Britain and Scandinavia have a birth rate of approx. 80% under one inhalation sedation with laughing gas.

How does laughing gas work?

How does laughing gas work

The mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen is given to the patient via the Baldus O2- Ventilation mask supplied and inhaled with strong breaths. The proportion of nitrous oxide is slowly increased until the patient is optimally sedated. Because consciousness during the Nitrous oxide sedation is maintained, the patient can communicate with the midwife or the attending physicians at any time. Once the optimal Sedation is reached, the patient feels a feeling of warmth and calm and can relax. A relief of the labor pain is also clearly noticeable. This feeling persists for the duration of the sedation. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off once the gas is no longer inhaled.

Benefits of using nitrous oxide during childbirth

For the mother-to-be

The calming effect of nitrous oxide allows the expectant mother to relax and let go of her fears. The pain-inhibiting effect sets in after just a few breaths (usually < 1 min) and relieves the pain of labour. Through communication with the midwife, the woman giving birth has control over the intensity of the sedation, as well as over herself and her body. The possibility of self-titration of the drug gives the patient psychological independence and a direct influence on the treatment with nitrous oxide. Focusing on breathing distracts women from their labor pains and fears. Since nitrous oxide has very few side effects and is gentle, it can be combined with other painkillers. The natural course of labor and the length of labor are not negatively affected by inhaling nitrous oxide.

For the midwife

If the woman giving birth can relax and let go of her fears thanks to the calming effect of nitrous oxide, this makes the work of the midwife easier. Communication with the pregnant woman is possible at any time during the course of the birth. In addition to a short preparation and follow-up phase, nitrous oxide sedation requires little effort using our mobile mixers. Laughing gas can be used in all phases of birth, including during the laying of an infusion, as well as with sutures and placenta removal. The sedative has been used for many decades, giving it a promising safety profile. In addition, this shows pulse oximeter Information such as pulse rate and oxygen saturation, which means that women do not need to be monitored more closely. The application of Nitrous oxide sedation requires only a short further training course and device instruction from Baldus Sedation's n2o Academy and can be carried out without an anesthetist. Complications can be almost completely ruled out during treatment with nitrous oxide, since the small number of possible contraindicators are only rarely present in a pregnant woman.

Is nitrous oxide sedation safe for the unborn child?

Is nitrous oxide safe for the unborn child

Current studies show that the gentle sedation with nitrous oxide during birth has no negative effects on the mother and the unborn child. A guaranteed oxygen supply of at least 50% ensures high oxygen saturation in the blood during the course of labour. The rapid evacuation of nitrous oxide from the body prevents accumulation in fetal tissue

Safety for the midwife

Safety for the midwife

Thanks to decades of use, the safety profile of nitrous oxide is very high.

• Nitrous oxide is not teratogenic

• Suction via anesthetic gas scavenging system

• Ventilation in the room must be available


The presence of the following contamination indications can be almost completely ruled out during childbirth, as these only rarely apply to the woman giving birth.

• Ileus, pneumothorax, otitis media, middle ear surgery

• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary emphysema

• Eye surgery with intraocular gas seal (up to 3 months after surgery)

• Cancer drug bleomycin (up to 7 months after therapy)

• Vitamin B12/folic acid deficiency states or disorders (in the case of long-term treatment)

side effects

Side effects such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting occur in rare cases with nitrous oxide sedation, are mostly due to too high a dosage of nitrous oxide and can be prevented by adjusting the dose according to the needs of the woman giving birth.

Find more information on the use of nitrous oxide during childbirth in these posts:

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