NEWARK – The Board of Medical Examiners has proposed amendments to allow licensed midwives to administer nitrous oxide as labor analgesia in licensed health care facilities.
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is an analgesic used for pain relief. The FDA-approved 50% nitrous and 50% oxygen blend can be inhaled during labor by holding a face mask over the nose and mouth. While considered a less invasive alternative to an epidural, nitrous oxide does not reduce pain or take away the sensation of a contraction. Instead, nitrous oxide relieves anxiety, which helps in the tolerance of pain, and its effects clear quickly.