Season two of "Call The Midwife" has started on our local PBS and the first installment featured something *new* being introduced, gas & air for both home births and for those delivering in the new maternity hospital. Doctor gives a test using "Chummy" which was a hoot and the midwives explain that while they will not be allowed to dispense during home births if a woman is having a hard time of things they can send for "doctor" and he will arrive with the kit in the boot of his car.
This was the 1950's UK so am not sure how far technology lagged behind the United States, but do know women of my grandmother's generation were offered nitrous oxide and air mixtures during L&D, but my mother's generation said by their time it was gone, and certainly cannot remember hospitals offering it in the 1980's.
Guess my question is why was gas and air discontinued? Liability? Safety? Physicans simply not wishing to bother? It is even difficult to find a dentist today that offers "gas" around here. The most you get are "numbing shots" with perhaps Vicodin afterwards.
In the UK gas and air still seem to be offered to women in labour and midwives still area allowed to bring it for home births. As one has not heard of any serious outbreak of adverse outcomes to both mother and or child it seems odd why the practice is almost gone from the USA