Fans of “Call the Midwife” might recall the adorable scene in which Chummy demonstrates how to use “the gas” during labor for pain relief only to over-inhale and fall blissfully into the hospital bed. Most Americans have never heard of using laughing gas for labor pains since epidurals became the anesthesia-du-jour in the 1970s and are now used by the vast majority of women in the US. However, people looking for relief have used laughing gas since the 1800s, usually for dental procedures. In the early 1900’s, laughing gas was introduced for labor, but never gained lasting traction in the US. Now, thanks to a small resurgence in popularity, you may see “laughing gas” on the menu of options at your hospital.
The Term Breech Trial in 2000 changed the way we deliver babies. Ever since Dr. Hannah published that pivotal study, obstetricians have increasingly favored delivering breech (butt first) babies by c-section instead of vaginal delivery. By term, which is 37 weeks of pregnancy and later, only about 3 to 4% of infants are breech. However, earlier in pregnancy, many more infants haven’t had a chance to flip over to head first yet. At 26 weeks, a quarter of infants are breech, and at 32 weeks, 15% are still breech. What happens if a baby is born preterm? More of these infants are in the breech position, but we don’t have a pivotal randomized trial like the Term Breech Trial to guide us.
I am very excited to introduce our new feature: a podcast! Dedicated to reviewing and editorializing the latest information in women's health, I hope this podcast will serve as a trusted source of information for on-the-go OBGYNs and other providers of women's health.