Quick Hits: News Coverage of Nitrous Oxide for Birth, IRS on Breast Feeding Supplies

By Rachel Walden — February 15, 2011

The IRS has ruled that breast pumps and supplies that assist in lactation do quality as medical care and are therefore deductible medical expenses that can be paid for through Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and other medical spending accounts.

The American Academy of Pediatrics had previously requested that the IRS rule that these supplies be added to the list of qualifying FSA items, but received a denial stating that breastfeeding did not constitute medical care. The new ruling does not decide that breastfeeding is medical care of an infant, but rules that the supplies are medical because “they are for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body of the lactating woman.” The AAP has applauded the change as “an important victory for the health of women and children across the country by making breastfeeding a more practical option for new and working mothers.”

In other news, the Associated Press has covered the issue of access to nitrous oxide for women in labor. The piece explains that some institutions (including my own) are currently working to make nitrous oxide an option; it’s commonly available to laboring women in some other countries. The item notes at the end that “the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is reviewing the effectiveness and safety of nitrous oxide compared to other pain relief methods” – I’m on the team for this project at work, so we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as that report is available.

3 responses to “Quick Hits: News Coverage of Nitrous Oxide for Birth, IRS on Breast Feeding Supplies”

  1. It is commendable that the IRS is listening to the demands of the public. Finally, the obesity epidemic has hit the pockets of Americans. The benefits of breastfeeding have shown to decrease the risk of illness, diabetes and obesity. It also improves the health of the mother allowing mothers to use the tax credit to help them afford a pump and the new laws that support mothers’ time to pump with help decrease these very devastating diseases. A fantastic website to review the benefits and literature on breastfeeding is found at http://www.breastfeedingbasics.org/.

  2. Its great to hear that the IRS is finally recognizing pumping equipment as tax deductible necessary medical equipment. It should have been this way a long time ago. Breastfeeding is often vital to a babies overall health and wellness and among the many benefits is that it is way cheaper than formula. Its interesting to me that often it is the lower income population that in fact does not breastfeed. We still have a long way to go in terms of education regarding this necessary issue. In many places of work even though it is law, women do not have a place to pump and are forced to use a bathroom stall or a broom closet every few hours. More education and reinforcement of these laws needs to occur.

    Regarding the access to Nitric Oxide, its a great tool not only for pain control during contractions but it also relaxes the mother as well. More research needs to be done on the use and effectiveness of NO during labor.

    Maybe the IRS will recognize this as tax deductible someday too (:.

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