(ABC) -Having a baby is a joyous occasion, but for many moms-to-be the pains of labor is anything but a celebration. Now, a new way to treat labor pain may have new moms laughing all the way through the birthing process.
One-day-old Asher Edmond's parents put a lot of thought into how they wanted to bring him into the world.
"My goal was to try to get through with no drugs and no epidural," Megan Edmonds said.
Edmonds wanted to try something new being offered, nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. It helped her handle the pains of childbirth.
"It just takes the edge off for me. Thirty-five to 40 percent of the edge in the beginning of contractions and everything," Edmonds said.
"It changes and alters the patient's perception of pain, and that's how it works," Dr. Albert Phillips, Providence St. John's Health Center, said.
The director of Women's Services at Providence St. John's Health Center says their hospital is the first in the region to offer nitrous oxide for birthing moms.
"Nitrous oxide is actually being used all over the world," Dr. Phillips said.
"The other thing that really helped is that you have to breathe in the gas and breathe out the gas, so it keeps your breathing on point," Edmonds said.
"For patients who want a just little bit of a pain reliever, even if they want an epidural or don't want an epidural, it's a great option for them," explained Eyelle Sacher, a midwife.
Baby Asher was born after seven hours of labor.
"There was no laughing. Still no laughing," Edmonds said.
Even though nitrous oxide can cross into the placenta, studies show it has a very good safety record.
"There's no indication that this gas causes any problems with the baby," Dr. Phillips said.
"She got to avoid the epidural. Her labor progressed naturally and fast, and the nitrous oxide really helped her," Sacher said.
"It was amazing to have on hand if you're trying to have no epidural and IV medications," Edmonds said.
Laughing gas is inexpensive. The hospital says it's not charging delivering mothers for its use.
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