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North Pinellas Health Notes for Sunday, Aug. 25

Breath of Life Women's Health & Birth Center in Largo now offers nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia for laboring women with the Nitronox System, which delivers a fixed mixture of 50 percent oxygen and 50 percent nitrous oxide, better known as "laughing gas."

Nitrous oxide has been used as an anesthetic since the 1850s, most commonly in the field of dentistry, and in obstetric care since the 1930s. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, a blend of inhaled nitrous oxide is used for analgesia in labor in many countries with high standards for safe and effective health care, including Australia, Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

"It is a primary aim of Breath of Life to allow clients free choice and autonomy in selecting the best form of labor pain management for each particular situation," said certified nurse-midwife Chris Hilderbrandt, Breath of Life's director.

The use of nitrous oxide by women in childbirth provides a variety of conveniences, including enough labor pain relief for many women, no apparent interference with labor progress or ability to push, no anesthesiologist required for its administration and monitoring, and it can be used at any time in labor right up to the birth.

Breath of Life, at 1900 East Bay Drive, is staffed by certified nurse-midwives and offers routine gynecological care and annual well-woman exams. Tours are offered weekly.

For more information, visit

• • •

Morton Plant Mease Volunteer Resources, in partnership with the YMCA of the Suncoast, invites adult cancer survivors to a free weekend retreat Oct. 18-20 at Camp Living Springs.

For the past 15 years, 75 adult cancer survivors (men and women age 18 and older) have been transported to a conference center in Ellenton for a three-day weekend of fun, laughter, friendship and an opportunity to leave behind day-to-day obligations and share experiences with other survivors.

Many activities are available for campers, including canoeing and fishing, nature walks and restorative yoga, campfires with roasted marshmallows and campfire songs, crafts and nightly entertainment.

All meals, lodging, activities and transportation are provided through a grant from the Morton Plant Mease Foundation.

Camp Living Springs has been honored with the Daily Points of Light Award and the Extraordinary Program Award from the American Society for Directors of Volunteer Services.

The application deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 28. Space is limited. Applications are available by calling (727) 461-8010.

• • •

Florida Hospital North Pinellas employees donated a truckload of backpacks and school supplies for teachers and students at Tarpon Springs Elementary School.

The hospital delivered the supplies Aug. 16, prior to the start of the new school year.

"We are thrilled to be able to help provide much-needed school supplies and backpacks to our local school," said Vernon Elarbee, the hospital's human resources director and coordinator of the project. "Every school year our employees are very generous and donate to our school supplies fund so that our community's kids can benefit. We made a promise to the school a long time ago that we will continue this effort every year — I'm hoping we can keep increasing our donations year by year."

Florida Hospital North Pinellas, 1395 S Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs, is a member of the Florida Hospital network of the Adventist Health System, the largest health care provider in the state. The 168-bed, full-service hospital serves both Pinellas and Pasco counties.

• • •

How convenient would it be for fitness enthusiasts to find, book, rate and share group fitness classes from any location?

The new peerFit app, created by four University of Florida graduate students, makes it possible by customizing group fitness planning through intelligent recommendations. Consumers can search for any type of class in any location to get the workout they're looking for.

The website and the app (currently available on iPhone) provide local fitness information, including class locations (no matter the gym, studio or fitness center), times, intensity levels and reviews. In addition, fitness successes and challenges can be shared with social networks through Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The new service, launched nationwide in July, allows the user to book fitness classes whether on a business trip, traveling or running errands.

"People today are busy, and finding group fitness classes can be time-consuming," said peerFit president Ed Buckley. "Why shouldn't you be able to pull up your gym's schedule and schedule the perfect fitness class in your calendar straight from your phone? PeerFit users spend less time searching for classes and more time participating in them."

For more information, call (352) 535-0044 or visit

Mail health items to Tampa Bay Times, 1130 Cleveland St., Suite 100-A, Clearwater, FL 33755; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email

North Pinellas Health Notes for Sunday, Aug. 25 08/23/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 23, 2013 2:59pm]
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