PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Expecting mothers now have a new option when it comes to dealing with pain during childbirth. It's called nitrous oxide and it's similar to laughing gas.
As of last week, St. Luke's Hospital in Tempe is making it an option for expecting mothers.
"Everything seems to be safe with the baby so I think it's definitely a great option," Mindy Betthauser said.
Mindy Betthauser is 37-weeks pregnant.
"I'm having a girl; second girl, yay!" she said.
Mindy says she's going to give the nitrous oxide a try because it allows her more movement, unlike her epidural with her first pregnancy.
"I want to be able to get up and walk around but a little extra help with pain management might help with my energy levels," she said.
As for moms wanting to keep it natural, board-certified OBGYN Dr. Greg. Marchand says the nitrous oxide takes the pain away, while keeping the mom present.
"This is completely patient-controlled, Mindy can give herself as much or as little nitrous oxide as she feel she needs, and it's very safe," he said.
The nitrous oxide also gives the mom and baby more oxygen, not less.
"Because the mask includes a 50 percent blend of nitrous oxide and oxygen, she's actually getting more oxygen while she has the masks on her face than we are just breathing in the room here," Dr. Marchand said.
Dr. Marchand says there are no side effects to the mom or child and the babies will not be sleepy or sedated from the nitrous oxide.
The doctor says though the nitrous oxide does help with pain, it does not always completely eliminate it the way an epidural can.