Skip to main content
Find a DoctorGet Care Now
Skip to main content







Preparing for Childbirth

Comfort Measures and Pain Management

Yale New Haven Hospital is committed to providing a variety of pain relief options during labor so our moms can play an active role in guiding their labor. Non-medication forms of pain relief are available along with pain relief medications. We encourage you to discuss your options with your obstetrician in order to make the best choice for you and your baby.


Water immersion, also called hydrotherapy, uses water to reduce the pain of your contractions and is just one of the many options you can choose during labor at Yale New Haven Hospital. Studies show that hydrotherapy may help your body relax and relieve anxiety and stress, making your contractions less painful. Being in water during labor may reduce the pressure felt with contractions and improve your circulation. Hydrotherapy options include both tub and shower therapies. Your care team will let you know which options may be available to you at the time of your delivery.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is used by many women around the world to help manage the pain of labor. It is inhaled through the mouth or nose by way of a face mask when a woman in labor feels she needs it.

Nitrous oxide is a gas that passes quickly into the body during breathing and decreases a patient’s awareness of pain. It works quickly (30-60 seconds) and best when used just before a contraction. Since it leaves the body just as quickly, a woman can stop using it when it is not needed between contractions.

Many moms report feeling relaxed, less anxious and overjoyed while taking nitrous oxide. They are less aware of pain and it feels more manageable. Nitrous oxide may work very well for some women throughout labor and may not be enough for others. Yale New Haven Hospital is committed to providing many pain management options to our moms so that they can take an active role in guiding their own labor.


We encourage you to discuss anesthesia options with your obstetrician in order to make the choice that is best for you and your baby. Some women may not want any pain relief medication while others may want some. We are happy to assist with whatever pain relief is selected and is in the best interest of the mother and her baby.

Maternity Preadmission Form

US News and World Report badge 8 specialties

Among the best for this specialty

Yale New Haven Hospital has been named as one of the top hospitals in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report's annual "Best Hospitals" rankings. Ranked among the very best in the nation in eight medical specialties, including obstetrics & gynecology, which ranked #4.