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PVHMC Now offering Nitrous Oxide for pain and anxiety relief during labor

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First Hospital in the Region to Offer a Non-Narcotic Pain Reliever During Labor

May 2021 – Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) announced that it is the first hospital in the region to begin offering women the option of nitrous oxide for pain and anxiety relief during labor. Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a tasteless, odorless gas that has significant medical uses because of its pain- and anxiety-reducing effects.

Nitrous oxide has been used around the world for labor and delivery for decades. The 50/50 mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen has been shown to safely deliver pain relief during procedures. Studies have shown that it is non-addictive and even decreases the need for other pain medication. This pain management alternative has also been used by dentists, as well as hospitals and surgery centers for orthopedics, plastic surgery, urology and dermatology.

“Nitrous oxide is an excellent option for women who want to control their pain during labor without the use of narcotics,” said M. Hellen Rodriguez, MD, Medical Director for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. “It does not limit mobility, slow labor or cause risk to the baby. It has a quick onset after it is inhaled and leaves the system quickly once its use is discontinued.”

Nitrous oxide is self-administered by holding a small mask to the mouth to inhale the gas, so patients feel more control over pain relief. The effects are typically felt within just a few breaths, offering immediate relief of pain and anxiety. No needles are necessary. Once the mask is removed, the effects of the nitrous oxide quickly wear off.

“From my first breath, the nitrous oxide helped me to manage and cope with my pain,” said Jessica Avila, Chino resident and one of PVHMC’s first patients to utilize nitrous oxide. “I had an epidural with my first child and didn’t like the numbing sensation in my legs, so the nitrous oxide was an easy decision for me. I wasn’t nervous or apprehensive because I knew that it wouldn’t affect my baby.”