St. Joseph's Hospital-South Offers Special Maternity Services

January 08, 2016

RIVERVIEW, Fla., (Jan. 7, 2016) Since welcoming its first baby into the world on Feb. 5, St. Joseph’s Hospital-South delivered 616 babies in 2015.  In addition to having their babies at the newest hospital in Hillsborough County, expectant mothers were treated to some of the most up-to-date maternity services, such as nitrous oxide, aromatherapy, gentle C-sections  and skin-to-skin contact.

Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” has been used as anesthesia in dentistry for 170 years.  More recently, hospitals in the U.S. have begun offering nitrous oxide as analgesia – pain reliever – for mothers during childbirth.  St. Joseph’s Hospital-South in Riverview incorporated the practice in November 2015.

When a laboring woman chooses this option, a machine is brought into the labor and delivery room that produces a 50/50 blend of oxygen and nitrous oxide, which is self-administered. 

The patient holds a mask to her face and is encouraged to time breaths prior to contractions so that the effect peaks at the beginning of a contraction.  It takes a few seconds for the nitrous oxide to peak and it’s very short acting so there are no long-lasting effects.

The reasons for using nitrous oxide for pain relief vary:  sometimes mothers in labor use nitrous oxide until they can get an epidural or in addition to it; sometimes there isn’t time for an epidural or the patient doesn’t qualify for one. Others choose nitrous oxide from the beginning.  Use of nitrous oxide is very individualized and affects patients differently. 

Patients should discuss the method of pain relief with their physician ahead of time.  Others learn about it during St. Joseph’s Hospital-South’s Prepared Childbirth classes.  To find a Prepared Childbirth class, go to

Another service offered to mothers is aromatherapy.  During labor, women are given a menu of available scents that serve different purposes:  Lavender produces a calming effect, eases pain and soothes itching.  Peppermint eases nausea and lessens headache.  Ylang-ylang relaxes, may help decrease blood pressure and calms fussy babies.  Jasmine promotes relaxation, decreases pain and augments contractions.  Lemongrass helps decrease mental fatigue.

For women who deliver their babies by Cesarean-section, Gentle C-section is another patient satisfier.  If the mother wants to be able to see the birth, clear drapes are used in the OR.  In addition, the baby is immediately handed to the mom for skin-to-skin contact, when the newborn is placed on the mother’s chest. This intimate contact can help the baby breathe easier, normalize its heart rate and oxygen levels, and support brain development.  For mom, skin-to-skin time helps produce milk and it boosts the release hormones that increase feelings of happiness. It also helps promote the healing process and can reduce colic.

To learn more about maternity services at St. Joseph’s Hospital-South, visit

About St. Joseph’s Hospital-South

St. Joseph’s Hospital-South opened in February 2015 to bring high-quality health care services to southern Hillsborough County in an environment designed to help patients heal.  Part of BayCare Health System, St. Joseph’s Hospital-South features all private patient suites and offers emergency care, surgical services, imaging, intensive care, obstetrics, cardiac catheterization and more in a peaceful, relaxing and family-centered environment.  Located south of Tampa in Riverview, the all-digital, state-of-the-art facility is specially designed to make patients and visitors as comfortable as possible during their hospital experience.

About BayCare

BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care.