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Nitrous oxide now an option for laboring mothers at Good Samaritan

Posted on Aug. 8, 2019 ( comments)
A nurse demonstrates how nitrous oxide is used.

Laboring mothers at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital will soon have access to nitrous oxide for pain management, among other new services being rolled out at its Family Birth Center this summer.

Nitrous oxide can be used as an alternative to an epidural without affecting labor progression. It’s popular with those who want help managing labor pain but are looking for minimal intervention.

This is the first time a MultiCare birth center has offered the odorless, colorless gas, also known as laughing gas or nitrous. It can be used when lying down or sitting.

Though you’ll still feel pain, nitrous can help decrease anxiety and “take the edge off.” You administer it yourself through a mask, so you’re in full control of the amount inhaled. The effects only last a few minutes.

Nitrous oxide has been used for decades, has very few side effects and no known effects to baby. It may make you feel drowsy, lightheaded and silly. Some may feel nausea.

Even if you still want an epidural, you can use nitrous oxide up until the epidural is administered. Nitrous can also help with stitching post-delivery and manual placenta delivery.

VBAC, unmedicated laboring support and private tours

Other new services at the Good Samaritan Family Birth Center will include support for vaginal birth after Cesarean section (VBAC) and new tools to support women who want an unmedicated labor and delivery — birthing peanuts, cub cushions, slings and wireless fetal monitoring to encourage mobility. Private tours are now available, as well as donor milk for those who want supplementation other than formula.

Cub cushion at Good Samaritan Family Birth Center

VBAC is for those who previously had a C-section but want to delivery vaginally. Compared to C-section, VBAC offers a shorter recovery time and avoids the risks of surgical complications. It’s an especially good option for those who plan on having more children.

Wireless fetal monitoring is an advantage over wired monitors that require readjusting with every movement or position change in a hospital bed. Plus, you can still get up and walk around or do what you’d like to do during labor.

Birth center tours are held at 1pm every Saturday and Sunday, no appointment required, but now you can also schedule a private tour by appointment. This service connects a patient and their family with an experienced labor and delivery nurse for a one-on-one tour, a review of birth options and a chance to have your personal questions answered. Call 253-433-4522 to schedule.

To support moms who choose exclusive breastfeeding, the Good Samaritan Family Birth Center offers donor breast milk free of charge to all moms who are exclusively breastfeeding and need support in milk production while their baby is a patient. The birth center purchases all donor breast milk from Northwest Mother’s Milk Bank, which works with hospitals and health care providers to supply safe and pasteurized donated human milk to infants with medical needs.

Visit the Good Samaritan Family Birth Center

Learn more about these new services and tour the birth center at an open house Saturday, Aug. 10, 11am-3pm.

Learn more about the MultiCare Good Samaritan Family Birth Center

Support the Good Samaritan Foundation

The nitrous oxide and wireless monitoring now available at the Good Samaritan Family Birth Center were made possible by support from the Good Samaritan Foundation.

Learn more about the Good Samaritan Foundation

About The Author

Roxanne Cooke

Roxanne Cooke tells stories in words, photos and video. She manages VitalsKite Strings and Bring Happy Back, plus special projects such as CeCe's Journey24 Hours at Tacoma General Hospital and The Healthy Futures Project. You can reach her at [email protected]

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