Inhaled Nitrous Oxide Analgesia for Labor
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Purpose of Review
This paper reviews the history, efficacy, safety, and administrative concerns for nitrous oxide analgesia during labor.
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.
KeywordsLabor 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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