New Birthing Options at MCH

Monadnock Community Hospital: Nitrous oxide now available in Peterborough maternity ward

By Dave Anderson Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, November 4, 2013
(Published in print: Tuesday, November 5, 2013)

mch-new-birthing-optionsFor more than 20 years, women giving birth in Canada, western Europe and Australia have had the option of using nitrous oxide to help them cope with pain during labor. But in the United States, where nitrous oxide is frequently used in dental offices, it has not been available in delivery rooms. But that’s about to change, and Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough is leading the way, the first hospital in New England and one of just a few in the country that has nitrous oxide equipment in its maternity unit.

“No one treatment is right for everybody,” says Dr. Fletcher Wilson, the chief of obstetrics at MCH. “The more options available, the better off you’ll be. [Nitrous oxide] is used by the majority of the world. Why aren’t we doing it?”

The hospital recently purchased two Pro Nox nitrous oxide delivery systems, which are relatively new to the U.S. market and have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The units, which can be wheeled into a birthing room, include both a mask and a mouthpiece, either of which can be used by the patient to breathe in a 50/50 mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen.

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