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Laughing gas used for labor pains at Anderson hospital

Posted at 11:27 AM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 14:29:40-05

ANDERSON, Ind. -- An Anderson hospital recently started using laughing gas to relieve labor pains, one of only a few delivering hospitals in the country to do so.

Rebekah Van Deraa recently gave birth to a new baby, Audrey, using laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide. 

"We were looking for a more natural approach to delivering our baby, and had discussed not wanting to have an epidural," Van Deraa said. 

The hospital's nitrous oxide machine has no needles involved -- just a mask at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital.

They're not thinking of the pain as it being so extreme, it alleviates some of that fear and anxiety," Lisa Zvyak, a nurse manager said. 

Van Deraa wasn't laughing through the birth, but she wasn't crying either.

"It was right in the middle," she said. "It was exactly what we needed."

To keep the woman in control, the dosage of nitrous oxide is lower than something you might see at a dentist, for example.

Zvyak said while a dentist might use 70 percent nitrous oxide and 30 percent oxygen, they would use a 50-50 split of nitrous oxide to oxygen.

"I was able to kind of work with the medicine," Van Deraa said. "Work with it, instead of feeling drugged or lethargic."

There are conditions where some people could not be good candidates. 


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