Would You Use Laughing Gas During Labor?

Nitrous oxide shutterstock

Labor pain is an experience that most women would prefer to avoid and who can blame them? No one likes pain but unfortunately those cramp-like symptoms are a signal that a new life is about to enter the world which is both exciting and inspiring.

It has been scientifically proven that the childbirth experience is much smoother, faster and less complicated when a woman is not in pain although her uterus is contracting. The treatment of labor pain is therefore very important. The gold standard of treatment for labor pain is to give a woman an epidural (or medicine in her back) as long as the baby does not need to be delivered as an emergency. An epidural prevents pain because it blocks the pain signals that come from the spine cord and is a very effective method when performed by skilled hands.

However, there’s a “new” trend of using nitrous oxide emerging in birth centers for women who would prefer not to have an epidural. Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas” is commonly used in dental offices for pain relief. It is also used in Europe, New Zealand, Asia, and Australia for labor pain relief.

In 2012, the FDA approved equipment that allows nitrous oxide to be used for labor pain management in the U.S. Actually; the use of gas for labor relief can be traced back to the 19th century when a dentist (Dr. William Morton) introduced ether for pain relief and the following year, an obstetrician (Dr. James Young Simpson) used chloroform during childbirth. Queen Victoria allegedly used chloroform for the delivery of her 8th child.

Courtesy of Mentalloss.com

Courtesy of Mental_floss.com


Is nitrous oxide safe for the delivery of our 21st century’s babies? Here’s what we know so far based on government studies:

  • 54% of women who used nitrous oxide reported pain relief as compared to 94% of women who had an epidural
  • Nitrous oxide does not appear to affect Apgar scores of babies at birth

Who shouldn’t receive it?

  • Women with asthma, emphysema or those with severe lung problems
  • Women with Vitamin B 12 deficiencies

The American College of Nurse Midwives thinks nitrous oxide is safe to use during labor? Would you use nitrous oxide during labor? Please send your comments to www.drlindaburkegalloway.com



Pregnant Moms, Please Don’t Over Do It on Super Bowl Sunday

superbowl food

The excitement is building as America gets ready to celebrate its unofficial holiday – Super Bowl Sunday. Some women will celebrate because they will finally have their partners back while others will celebrate because their beloved teams made it to the championship game. Whatever the reason for celebrating, rest assured that at the heart of each individual celebration is food. Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day of U.S. food consumption right after Thanksgiving. So what will people be eating? How about —

• 12.;5 million pizzas
• 11.2 million pounds of chips
• 1.25 billion *yes, BILLION with the letter “B” chicken wings

• 48 million takeout meals
• 121 grams of fat
• 2400 calories
• 8 million pounds of guacamole

Pregnant moms, somewhere in the midst of celebrating, you will either be offered food or preparing it. Here are some rules that will keep you out of the Emergency or Labor Room:

• Watch the pizza, chips and chicken because of their high content of fat. Your gallbladder is not working at full capacity during pregnancy and has a tendency to form stones. The last thing you need is to have a gallbladder attach during half-time

• Beer is probably not a good thing to drink while pregnant because of the alcohol content which could potentially lower your platelets (the part of the blood that prevents you from bleeding to death) and could possibly harm the baby

• Believe it or not, the most consumed meal during the Super Bowl is (drum roll –) vegetables!! Yes, according to several print media outlets, vegetables is the most consumed meal on Super Bowl Sunday so eat your heart out make sure they are well rinsed before eating to avoid infections

East wisely, safely and may the best team win!

Planning Your Pregnancy

Congratulations! You’ve reached a defining moment in your life. You’ve decided to have a baby. Although not yet pregnant, there’s a lot of work that has to be done in order to achieve your goal of having a healthy baby. Unlike the 2 million women who have unplanned pregnancies in the United States each year, yours will be different because it involves strategic planning, so let’s get busy

heartThe old saying “fail to plan means plan to fail” holds true, especially if you have decided to have a baby. The decisions you make will not just involve what color to paint your baby’s nursery or who to invite to a baby shower. You will have to decide whether to see a midwife, a family practice doctor or an obstetrician for prenatal care. Each one of those providers has a different level of training and education.

You must determine whether you are healthy enough to have a baby or what to do if you have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis or an autoimmune disease such as Lupus that could affect the outcome of your pregnancy or even your own health. So, let’s talk about your health for a moment. If you have any of the pre-existing conditions mentioned, you should plan to see a maternal fetal medicine specialist who is a high risk pregnancy doctor. Although you’re not pregnant at the moment, he or she will be able to counsel you regarding what tests you might need, medications or necessary treatment before you become pregnant.

preg woman eatingHow’s your weight? No, it’s not a loaded question nor is it an attempt to make you red-face with embarrassment. If you are underweight because of an eating disorder you might have difficulty ovulating or maintaining a pregnancy if your body fat is not at least 22%. On the other hand, if you are obese, meaning you have a BMI of greater than 30, you might not be able to ovulate and without ovulation, pregnancy cannot occur. If you’re having weight issues, it’s important to get them addressed before you attempt to get pregnant because the complication rate for pregnant obese women is extremely high.

Old habits might be hard to die, but smoking must definitely be eliminated if you are planning to get pregnant. Smoking has been associated with miscarriages, premature births, small babies and fetal distress. Smoking has harmful substances such as nicotine and carbon monoxide which increases your baby’s heart rate and decreases the amount of oxygen it receives. These things cause complications including fetal death, therefore if you smoke, please enter a smoking cessation program before attempting to get pregnant.

Are you up to date with your vaccines? If not, please do so. Measles, mumps, rubella (aka German measles) a, diphtheria,  polio and varicella (aka chickenpox) vaccinations should be up to date and cannot be given during pregnancy. Varicella during pregnancy can cause life-threatening pneumonia and rubella can cause hearing loss, blindness and intellectual disabilities of babies. If you are a healthcare professional, you should also be given hepatitis vaccines as well.

A word about nutrition is also in order if you’re planning to become pregnant. You must take at least 400 micrograms of folate acid each day to prevent birth defects such as Spina Bifida. Folate acid is part of vitamin B and should be taken before you become pregnant in order to have its protective effects.

Planning a pregnancy may not be easy but remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.