Document Type


Publication Date



School of Medicine


Medical Education


This Pro-Con debate will provide the practitioner with an evidence-based knowledge approach to assist the clinician in determining whether to employ (Pro) or not to employ (Con) this technique in the obstetrical suite for labor analgesia. Nitrous oxide has been used safely in dentistry and medicine for many centuries. However, accumulating preclinical and clinical evidence increasingly suggests previously unrecognized adverse maternal and fetal effects of nitrous oxide, which warrants reconsideration of its use in pregnant women and a more detailed informed consent. Nitrous oxide is associated with metabolic, oxidative, genotoxic, and transgenerational epigenetic effects in animals and humans that may warrant limiting its usefulness in labor. This debate will discuss and review the clinical uses, advantages, and disadvantages of nitrous oxide on occupational effects of nitrous oxide exposure, neuroapoptosis, FDA warning on inhalational anesthetics and the developing brain, research limitations, occupational exposure safety limits, effects on global warming, and potential for diversion.

Source Citation

Vallejo, M. C., & Zakowski, M. I. (2019). Pro-Con Debate: Nitrous Oxide for Labor Analgesia. BioMed Research International, 2019, 1–12.


Copyright © 2019 Manuel C. Vallejo and Mark I. Zakowski. Tis is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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