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Southeast Wisconsin women will have option to use laughing gas during childbirth

Posted at 11:39 AM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 12:43:53-04

MILWAUKEE -- Pain while giving birth is often a common concern for expecting moms. Now, for the first time in Southeastern Wisconsin women will have the option of using laughing gas to relieve this pain.

Kaylee Habeck is open and honest about giving birth. While she feels more prepared her second time around she's still nervous.

"The rumors are true, it's painful," Habeck said.

"Every pregnancy is different. Every delivery is different. Not really quite sure how things are going to go."

One tool that could help is nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas.

It's been used in birthing for decades overseas but is gaining popularity in the states.

According to Vanderbilt University Professor Michelle Collins, who has studied birthing and pain management, about 1,000 hospitals and 300 birthing centers offer the treatment in the U.S.

Moreland OB-GYN is the first to provide it in Southeastern Wisconsin at Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital.

With laughing gas the patient is in control. It can be used at any time and you simply inhale through a mask.

"You get a little relief starting around 30 seconds," Dr. Stephanie Voice of Moreland said.

Dr. Voice said it offers similar pain relief benefits to an epidural but also decreases anxiety and allows women to move around freely.

Expecting moms are still welcome to get an epidural, but you can't use both at the same time. In fact, when Dr. Voice had her child, she used laughing gas before an epidural.

"I got to about five centimeters. It was pretty uncomfortable and I loved it for that time period," Dr. Voice said.

It doesn't have any effects on your baby, but could cause some women to feel dizzy or nauseous.

Either way, Habeck is interested and just may use it when she's due in October.

"With everything else, the way medicine is evolving, this may be the next best thing and I would love to be a part of that," Habeck said.

If you're concerned about cost, there's no additional fee for laughing gas at Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital.