Inhaled anesthetic gases were one of the first methods of pain relief ever used during childbirth. Queen Victoria used Chloroform in childbirth in 1853! Although Chloroform is no longer used, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is available on some labor units for women during vaginal delivery. Nitrous oxide has been used for decades in Europe, and is gaining acceptance in the US for the use in labor. During labor, you hold the mask to your face and inhale at the start of a contraction, breathing in the medication. You remove the mask when the contraction ends. Nitrous oxide has not been shown to lower pain scores for women in labor, but people do report feeling “out of it” and relaxed. It is generally useful in very early labor, or to help get through the last couple of pushes. There is not a lot of data about safety when used for a long time during labor.