Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Vanderbilt Medical Center has a new option for women seeking pain relief during labor: laughing gas.
The hospital joins only a few others across the nation that offer nitrous oxide to women during childbirth.
The odorless, tasteless gas is blended with oxygen and the mixture is inhaled a mouthpiece and can be self-administered by the mother. Although it doesn't completely eliminate pain, the gas can reduce it.
Michelle Collins, who is a certified nurse midwife and an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, told The Tennessean it offers a third choice to mothers. Until last week, she said women had to choose between an unmedicated birth and IV narcotics.