Nitrous Oxide Available for Pain Management at New Beginnings Birth Center

Brookings, S.D. – June 23, 2022 – New Beginnings Birth Center at Brookings Health System recently added nitrous oxide as a pain relieving option for laboring mothers. 

“Nitrous oxide is a pain management option for moms who want a more natural birth experience or a non-invasive pain reliever they can control,” said Obstetrics Director Michelle Sand, RN. “Evidence-based research shows using nitrous oxide for pain relief during labor is safe for both mothers and babies. It also allows mothers freedom of movement during labor. In addition, nitrous oxide does not disrupt the release of oxytocin, the hormone that promotes early mother-baby bonding and breast milk production.”

Commonly referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is an inhaled anesthetic gas that mothers can self-administer during labor by holding a small mask to their mouth. Women who use nitrous oxide still have an awareness of contractions and labor pain, but the pain is dulled and made easier to cope with. The gas also helps women relax by reducing anxiety. Because women self-administer the gas, they also feel more in control of their pain management. 

Nitrous oxide can be used continuously throughout labor, up until the time of delivery. Its use may be stopped at any point, with its effects leaving both the mother’s and baby’s bodies within five minutes. It may be used in conjunction with an epidural or in cases where it’s too early or too late for an epidural. Nitrous oxide can also be used in place of narcotic pain medication during labor. 

Brookings Health System’s OB unit, New Beginnings Birth Center, has eight beds consisting of five labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) suites and three postpartum recovery rooms. The unit provides full OB services to expectant parents and enables area residents to deliver their baby close to home with a local physician. As a Baby-Friendly® Hospital, Brookings Health ensures mothers who deliver at New Beginnings Birth Center and intend to breastfeed, as well as those who cannot or decide not to breastfeed, are supported. To learn more about New Beginnings Birth Center, please visit

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic & Optical, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, emergency and extended care services. Brookings Hospital provides local access to doctors in Brookings and offers robotic da Vinci surgery and Mako robotic-arm assisted procedures, making it one of the premier rural community hospitals in South Dakota. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at

PHOTO: Obstetrics Nurse Amanda Anderson, RN, assists a laboring mother to breathe
in nitrous oxide to help with pain during a contraction. New Beginnings Birth Center
added nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, as a pain management option for mothers
who want a more natural birth experience or a non-invasive pain reliever they can
control. The gas dulls the sensations of contractions and pain for women in labor,
making the pain easier to cope with.