I may have met one woman in my entire life who said birthing wasn't a brutal experience. Still, many don't want to use drugs. Now, there's a new option hospitals are starting to use that some say is so effective, it might even have you laughing through delivery.
Long before baby Jacqueline was born, her mom, Jenna, didn't plan on using any pain relief during labor. Then she found out about nitrous oxide.
"It felt more like a middle ground than getting an epidural. It felt a little safer," says Jenna White.
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, has been used for labor pains in the UK since the 1930s. Only now, is it making an appearance in the U.S. since the FDA approved new self-administrating nitrous oxide machines in 2012.
"It's totally patient controlled. I had complete control over when I took breaths, how many breaths to take," says White.
Kerry Dixon, a certified nurse midwife, has been delivering babies for 20 years, and used the laughing gas for laboring mothers in New Zealand. She says it helps alleviate mental anxiety, eases physical pain, and poses fewer health risks for mom and baby than other options.
"They're also free to move around. They can be on a birthing ball. They can be sitting in a rocking chair. They can be pacing. Other medications we offer in the United States require them to be in bed," explains Dixon.
"It definitely did help once I figured it out and got me through some really tough labor," White says.
A total of 55 hours of labor to be exact. But soon after White used the gas, Jacqueline was born.
"I would recommend it. I think it's a really -- it's just another option to have out there," says White.
Nitrous oxide is the cheapest of available labor pain relief options. It costs less than $100, whereas an epidural can run up to $1,000.