Laughing gas may be another pain relief option for women in labor

During pregnancy, as the expectant mothers prepare to give birth, some women already know that they want physician-administered drugs to help alleviate the pain while others prefer to do it naturally. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that epidural/spinal anesthesia are very common and given to three out of five pregnant women.

Although popular, some expectant moms may be hesitant about receiving drugs because of the noted side effects, which include bleeding around the spinal column, difficulty urinating, drop in blood pressure, an infection in your spine, nerve damage or severe headaches, according to the National Institutes of Health. Even though these numbing medications are considered generally safe, some women want an option that isn't quite as strong.

For those women who are unsure about whether to risk potential complications or go into the birthing process without any drug help, researchers have asserted that low doses of inhaled analgesics can also reduce pain safely, as reported by Reuters Health. This may take the place of an oxygen mask and, instead, supply nitrous oxide or flurane analgesics.

"We would like women to have more choices for non-invasive methods if they wish," Trudy Klomp, the lead researcher of the review, told Reuters Health. "When women want to have some pharmacologic pain relief in labor, we think we must give them the choice for this form of pain relief, the inhaled analgesic."

Although controlled inhaled analgesics will not numb the lower half of the body like some epidurals, it will provide more relief than oxygen alone.

Researchers from VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam reviewed the reports of nearly 3,000 women's experiences in early labor. They found that both nitrous oxide and flurane derivatives reduced the intensity of the pain.

Did you or someone you know try this method of pain relief during labor? Did it work? What are your thoughts on physician-administered drugs for labor discomfort? Leave your answers in the comments section!