Inhaled Nitrous Oxide Analgesia for Labor

  • Curtis L. BaysingerEmail author
Obstetric Anesthesia (LR Leffert, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Obstetric Anesthesia


Purpose of Review

This paper reviews the history, efficacy, safety, and administrative concerns for nitrous oxide analgesia during labor.

Recent Findings

While pain relief is inferior to that provided by neuraxial analgesia, maternal satisfaction is equivalent to that of neuraxial techniques, and better if analgesia is reported to be poor. A recent systematic review reports good safety for mother and child, that some women report excellent pain relief and others not, and that minor side effects are infrequent. Qualitative research summarizing patient comments on their experience suggests that numerous factors other than pain relief affect maternal satisfaction with their analgesia for labor. Only one study has examined patient factors that predict conversion from nitrous oxide to neuraxial analgesia for labor.


Inhaled nitrous oxide offers a safe and effective means for labor analgesia for many women. Maternal satisfaction is not as dependent on effective pain relief as with neuraxial analgesia.


Labor analgesia Inhalation analgesia Nitrous oxide analgesia Maternal satisfaction Anesthetic toxicity 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Curtis L. Baysinger declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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