Jupiter Medical Center Offers Nitrous Oxide to Expectant Mothers During Labor

Jupiter Medical Center announced that it has begun offering nitrous oxide as a pain relief option to laboring mothers in the delivery room.

“At Jupiter Medical Center, we continue to reimagine the way we deliver health care to our community,” said John D. Couris, President and CEO of Jupiter Medical Center. “Offering innovative treatment options like nitrous oxide in our Florence A. De George Children & Women’s Services obstetrics unit is just one way that we are able to provide our patients with the latest options in world-class care right here in their own backyard.”

Nitrous oxide, when used to combat labor pain, is a mixture of 50% nitrous gas and 50% oxygen. It is delivered through Pro-Nox, a pneumatically driven gas system that is controlled by the patient as they hold their own mask and inhale the gas mixture about 30 seconds prior to a contraction to combat labor pain and anxiety.

Widely used in dental offices and known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide has long been available in Europe for pain relief during labor. Now approved by the FDA, it is being implemented in hospitals across the United States, including Jupiter Medical Center - the first in the region to bring nitrous oxide into the delivery room.

The use of nitrous oxide does not preclude the placement of an epidural. Some women may use nitrous oxide prior to having an epidural. While they can’t be used concurrently, it is perfectly fine to use nitrous oxide first and then move to a different type of pain relief if needed.

Additionally, there are no known effects on the baby. Nitrous oxide is the only pain relief method used for labor that is cleared from the body through your lungs, so as soon as the patient pulls the mask away, the nitrous oxide effect is gone within a breath or two. While some women have reported mild nausea after prolonged use, there is medication to help ease the nausea as needed. Finally, the use of nitrous oxide can cause some unsteadiness in patients when getting in and out of bed and so, it is recommended that patients not be left unattended.

“The use of nitrous oxide is a great additional option to relieve pain at any time during or after labor,” explains Stephen Livingston, M.D., chief of obstetrics at Jupiter Medical Center. “Since we began offering it, the response from my patients has been incredibly enthusiastic and they have all done incredibly well. In fact, a number of them have bypassed the epidural as their pain was managed effectively through the use of nitrous oxide.”

There are additional benefits to the use of nitrous oxide, including:

  • Proven safe for both mother and baby as it has been used globally for decades
  • Empowers the patient to respond to their pain as needed
  • Provides quick onset as it takes effect in seconds
  • Offers short duration of effect
  • Clears from the body within minutes
  • Available for use during the duration of labor when the patient has pain and anxiety
  • Speeds patient recovery time
  • Easy to administer and set-up and is non-invasive

The Pro-Nox system is fully portable without the need for plug-ins and can be easily moved as needed. It is easy to use while decreasing the risk of infection as the patient receives the medicine directly through a mask as opposed to receiving medication via injection.

For more information on our obstetrics program and the Pro-Nox system, please visit: www.jupitermed.com/OB or call 561-263-2676.

About Jupiter Medical Center

A not-for-profit 327-bed regional medical center consisting of 207 private acute-care hospital beds and 120 long-term care, sub-acute rehabilitation and Hospice beds, Jupiter Medical Center is reimagining how to restore the community’s health and wellness. Award-winning physicians, world-class partnerships and innovative techniques and technology enable Jupiter Medical Center to provide a broad range of services with specialty concentrations in cardiology, oncology, imaging, orthopedics & spine, digestive health, emergency and pediatric services, lung & thoracic, women’s health, weight management and men’s health.

Founded in 1979, Jupiter Medical Center has approximately 1,600 team members, 615 physicians and 640 volunteers. Jupiter Medical Center continues to perform in the top 10% of hospitals for patient quality and satisfaction. For more information on Jupiter Medical Center, please call (561) 263-2234 or visit Jupitermed.com.