Background: Inhaled nitrous oxide has been used in many developing countries for labor analgesia but fell out of practice in the United States over the past 40 years. Recently it has been reintroduced into practice in the U.S. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the literature in order to determine the maternal and neonatal effects of utilizing nitrous oxide for labor analgesia. Methods: Twenty research articles were critically reviewed in order to determine the maternal and neonatal effects of utilizing nitrous oxide for labor analgesia. Results: Nitrous oxide appears to be safe for both mother and neonate. Nitrous oxide is effective in pain and anxiety reduction. Maternal satisfaction with pain reduction and childbirth experience with nitrous oxide is high. The duration of the first and second stages of labor were significantly shortened. About half of women that utilize nitrous oxide ultimately convert to neuraxial analgesia. There was no statistically significant reduction in epidural rates or Cesarean section rates. Conclusion: Pharmacologic pain management options are limited and have disadvantages. Nitrous oxide appears to be a safe and effective option for labor analgesia. Implications for Research and Practice: Nurse-midwives can educate patients prenatally and during labor regarding the use of nitrous oxide for labor analgesia. Nitrous oxide can safely be used during any stage of labor.
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Sayler, J. L. (2018). The Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes of Utilizing Nitrous Oxide for Labor Analgesia [Masterʼs thesis, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/562