Laughing through labor? Seems some hospitals are starting to offer nitrous oxide – or laughing gas – for childbirth. Unlike an epidural, which relieves pain by blocking feeling, the laughing gas doesn’t take away the pain, but reduces anxiety and increases feelings of well-being … without blocking feeling or movement. And with laughing gas you can breathe it in if you want, or stop if you don’t want to use it anymore. As one woman who used laughing gas during labor told Today, “You’re cognitively aware of everything that’s going on. If you don’t want the effects of it, you can simply stop using it. You’re not confined. With the epidural there’s a lot of movement restriction.” The use of nitrous oxide for childbirth is common in Europe but it is just starting to gain popularity here in the states.