Some Maternity Wards Offering Laughing Gas Again

What's the difference between nitrous oxide and an epidural and how does it affect mothers?
3:00 | 01/08/14

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Transcript for Some Maternity Wards Offering Laughing Gas Again
Laughing gas is returning to the maternity ward. A number of hospitals and birthing centers around the country have begun offering this to pregnant mothers. Abc's amy robach has the details. I want the epidural. Okay. Reporter: We've all seen extreme labor pains in movies like "knocked up." This woman needs an enema. Reporter: And in the classic comedy "nine months." While especially do you recall have long been the solution some are looking at an old alternative. Nitrous oxide better known as laughing gas. An option that had fallen out of favor until now. This woman gave birth to three children at this hospital and like so many women says using an epidural with her first left her feeling too numb. I wasn't able to know when i was having a contraction. I didn't know when I should push. I didn't know when I should breathe. Reporter: By the second birth she chose a painful natural birth, for the thirst she chose nitrous oxide. With it I felt like I was able to feel the pain but distance myself from it. Reporter: Shawna's doctors say that's exactly the idea. It does take the edge off and there's a little bit of an i don't care factor similar to when you go to the dentist, a woman is anxious decreases her anxiety. Reporter: Though nitrous oxide is gaining popularity among midwives especially and a handful of hospitals are bringing back the gas as an option but some doctors argue the method is too dated and not necessarily a safer option. Women very often think that they want low intervention birth. This is not the way that someone should go if what they're really trying to find is something that they consider to be safer and it certainly isn't better. Reporter: Still, laughing gas disciples like shawna warn not to laugh it off just yet. For "good morning america," amy robach, abc news. We went to the people. We asked our viewers, would you try laughing gas in the delivery room? Let's get some of your trees right now? Here's one, rather than an epidural? Heck, yes. I would have tried it. And then ashley says "i think it's a nice alternative to help calm a mom who doesn't want other drugs, I would consider it" so there you have it so let's bring in jen ashton. Is it safe for the pom and baby. Absolutely it is safe and my twitter has been blowing up with comments on both sides also saying they had it, liked it. Women saying they tried it. It did nothing. You know, our concern is we have two patients, the mother and the baby and nitrous oxide is used all the time in dentist offices but the question is will women like it, enjoy it and will it work for them. It's amazing we're talking about this. It's making a comeback. We haven't heard about it -- everything old is new again. When you talk about the comparison between epidural and nitrous. Epidural blocks pain, flight trous or laughing gas does not. It blocks the perception of pain. So you're hysterically laughing but you're still in pain. That's correct. Basically. That's a problem. Basically that's correct. It blocks awareness of does the pain bother you? The nitrous or laughing gas does cross the placenta and goes to the baby and can sedate the baby. The epidural does not and some women with an epidural don't actually like the feeling that they can't feel these contractions although one of our camera men said they should give laughing gas to the dads in the delivery. Great idea. So much pain. In so much pain. Right, robin. Is will a cost difference? There absolutely is. Nitrous laughing gas is very, very inexpensive largely because you don't need an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist to monitor something like the epidural but, remember, a lot might wind up getting both and might wind up trying the gas in the beginning of labor and going for the epidural and cost is not really an issue. All the rage. Josh, why are you laughing? You need laughing gas right now. I just -- I -- watching george, I wonder -- don't bring me into this. Calm, cool and collected in labor, right. Thank you. You're welcome. Shifting gears, we're moving

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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