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Content provided by Samaritan Health Services Nitrous oxide: Mid-valley mothers have a new option for pain during labor N itrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas or nitrous, has been used for many years to relieve pain. While most commonly associated with dental procedures, nitrous oxide is now gaining popularity as a pain relief option for labor and birth. Since 2017, expectant mothers planning to give birth at a Samaritan Health Services hospital have the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of nitrous oxide. While the use of nitrous oxide is not a new way to treat pain, offering it as a new option to maternity patients brings about many questions. Marge Tomcal, RN, manager of the Women’s Center at Samaritan A jetted tub set in a relaxing environment at the Samaritan Albany General Hospital Women’s Center, one of the many options available to expectant mothers. Albany General Hospital answers the most commonly asked questions about nitrous: How does nitrous oxide work? Nitrous oxide works by increasing the release of endorphins, corticotrophins and dopamine in your brain, which can provide relief to labor pains. Nitrous oxide is emerging as a popular new option for pain relief during labor. Why offer a new pain relief option? For would like and still take advantage of an which means that the gas does not Is there a reason I shouldn’t use nitrous many pregnant mothers, nitrous oxide epidural if they choose. accumulate in the maternal or fetal tissues. oxide? Certain medications or medical What are the side effects? Some It is the only pain relief method used for mothers may experience unsteadiness. It labor that is cleared from the body through is important that mothers always have a the lungs, so within a breath or two of Within five minutes of inhaling nitrous support person nearby to help them get removing the mask, the effect is gone. oxide, mothers can get out of bed and out of bed or a chair after using nitrous continue with activities that can help oxide. Mothers may also experience progress labor, like walking, sitting in a nausea after prolonged use. offers a more gentle option to pain relief. It is less invasive than an epidural and is selfadministered by breathing through a mask. jetted tub or using a birthing peanut or ball. Does it affect the baby? Nitrous oxide Will it make me laugh? Nitrous oxide used during labor is a lower concentration than that used in a dental office. Most women do not have fits of laughter, but will conditions can make nitrous unsafe. Expectant mothers will be assessed for any medical issues before being allowed use. For more information about nitrous oxide or other pain relief options, talk with your provider or take a childbirth preparation class. To find a childbirth preparation class near Mothers who begin pain relief with nitrous has no known effects on the baby. When it is experience feelings of relaxation that can oxide can discontinue use when they inhaled, it has a rapid onset quick clearance, help take the edge off painful contractions. you, visit samhealth.org/Baby. Livinghealthy Community classes to keep you healthy Social connections can affect your health W hen it comes to treating health concerns like hypertension and high cholesterol, doctors have many effective tools to help patients. But for social issues such as isolation, unhealthy relationships and poverty – factors that can impact a person’s health – there isn’t an easy cure. Studies of how social ties affect our health have already linked social A study by Michigan State University found the association with marriage quality and heart health seems to increase with age. Older couples ages 57 to 85, in good marriages had a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, while people in bad marriages had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, especially women. There may not be a prescription to resolve isolation and other social factors that can affect a person’s health. But there are different ways of coping with stress, health experts agree. “There is no avoiding stress in life,” said Thomas Marker, MD, of Samaritan Cardiology. “There are adaptive and isolation to poorer health outcomes. Now maladaptive responses to stress.” researchers are looking at how social Dr. Marker has practiced cardiology for relationships may help to reduce stress Train with a pro: Running clinic at The SAM Learn mental health first aid for youth Join The SAM’s team for a free running Learn how to help youth who may be group to help you prepare for the Corvallis experiencing symptoms of a mental illness Half-Marathon. Thursdays, noon to 1 p.m., or crisis. March 8, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Samaritan Athletic Medicine Center. Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Information: 541-768-7700 Registration: SHSHealthEd@samhealth.org Grief support or 541-768-6811 Samaritan Evergreen Hospice offers free grief Weight loss: Find what works for you! support groups in Albany and Lebanon for Join us for a free seminar and learn about adults. Each group meets twice a month. weight loss surgery, the steps involved, Information and meeting schedules: program benefits, insurance coverage If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, 541-812-4680 Be prepared for childbirth Prepare for your new arrival in this four-week and more. Feb. 21, 3 to 4:30 p.m., Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Registration: SamaritanStories.com or call 541-768-4280 series. Learn about the birth process and practice tips and tools for labor. Cost is $65 per couple. March 1, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., Samaritan Albany General Hospital. Registration: pollywogfamily.org or Hot topics in menopause 541-917-4884 Join us for a free seminar and learn what to expect during menopause. Find answers to and heart-related risks. As research more than 30 years in the community. He All about breastfeeding continues, some studies have associated encourages his patients to exercise, and as Discover the benefits of breastfeeding in bone health, hormone replacement therapy strong social connections with living head of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Samaritan, part one of a two-class series. Learn how and more. March 21, 6 to 7:30 p.m., longer. Dr. Marker helped create a program that It’s important to note that having relationships isn’t what affects health outcomes. For example, the health benefits associated with being married only hold true if the relationship is positive. Being in an unhealthy or unhappy relationship can create stress and contribute to health problems. offers people recovering from a heart attack or other heart problems a safe and structured place to exercise, as well as address social needs through the support and friendship they find with others. Learn more about other healthy lifestyle tips and free health education classes at samhealth.org/Family. your questions about hot flashes, night sweats, to get started, establish a good milk supply Samaritan Albany General Hospital. and prevent common problems. Support Registration: samhealth.org/BeHealthy partners are encouraged to attend. Feb. 15, or 1-855-873-0647 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Information: 541-768-5244 Visit samhealth.org/Classes for a complete list of classes and support groups in your community.