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Nitrous Oxide Being Used to Help Mothers in Labor at McLaren Northern Michigan Petoskey Campus

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is commonly seen in dentist offices. Now you can find it on the labor and delivery floor at McLaren Northern Michigan Petoskey Campus.

It’s very popular in other countries around the world. It’s just sort of making a comeback in the United States,” said Jenny Collison, Clinical Nurse Manager of OB & Pediatrics at McLaren Northern Michigan Petoskey Campus.

Nurses at McLaren Northern Michigan Petoskey campus are the first in the region to offer nitrous oxide to mothers in labor.

“We’re really excited because we know so many patients in the area are looking for non-narcotic options or non-epidural options for pain management,” explained Collison. “Depending on how fast labor is going for a woman, it can go very quickly, and you feel like you’re losing control. So sometimes being able to control the pain medication or that gas can help give her a little bit more sense of control, help her regulate her breathing, cope with that anxiety of things going very quickly.”

Chelsea Switzer is a nurse on the labor and delivery floor. She’s also expecting twins and plans to use nitrous oxide during labor.

“It wasn’t here when we had our first baby two years ago, and I’m really excited. You hear really good reviews about places that have it, so it’s exciting to have just one more option,” said Chelsea Switzer, OB Nurse at McLaren Northern Michigan Petoskey Campus.

Nurses say the risks are low for both mom and baby.

“There’s no impact on APGAR scores they’re finding in babies after delivery. It clears the system very rapidly. Even just a few breaths of fresh air, when you take them mask down, it clears your system,” said Collison.

Nitrous oxide is another tool and another option to help mothers bring a new life into the world.

“It’s humbling to be able to be part of that experience for so many families and to be able to be a part of the birth story that they’re going to remember through their child’s lifetime,” explained Collison.

McLaren Northern Michigan Petoskey Campus had a busy month in December. They were expecting to deliver 38 babies but instead delivered 50.