After having 3 children, I can safely say I love this stuff!! Gas and Air or Entonox has been my saviour 3 times over.
During my first labour, I was given this at 6 cms and I've never felt so relieved in my entire life. Unfortunately this labour ended in an epidural but as it was induced I've put it down to that rather than the Gas and Air being ineffective. I got through my next 2 labours solely on this amazing stuff and nothing else. It helped me through a water birth and a "land" birth fantastically.
To use, you simply place the plastic mouthpiece into your mouth and breath in and out slowly for best effect, I got told off a few times by breathing to fast and I must say slowly is definitely more effective. There is no need to take the mouthpiece out when breathing out, you simply breathe back into it. For the best pain relief, start breathing it in as you feel the contraction building, so that at its peak it's at it's full efficiency. To be honest, I just breathed it in constantly but I did have very quick labours.
The feeling!! Oh that feeling!! Some people says it makes them feel drunk, not sure that's the correct feeling or whether I've just never been that drunk but it makes you feel like you are on a different planet, all light headed and zoned out. If someone's talking to you and you're n this, you won't acknowledge them, you just kind of hear voices in the background. I could hear an advert on TV but when I stopped breathing it in, it wasn't even on!!
I love that it has no affect on your baby and that as soon as you stop breathing it in there are no after effects. I can see how it could make some people feel a bit sick though, especially at the beginning but once you get into it you will snap at anyone who dares to take it off you (men who "want to have a go" included)
But be warned, it gives you drunk mouth, meaning you will say anything and everything and won't care who it's to!!
Throughout my pregnancy with my son I wouldn't have actually said I was terrified of giving birth or anything, but I was obviously scared about the pain I was going to experience and I tried to prepare myself for what was to come, I also watched many different videos and read different features about Labour and Pain Relief so that I thoroughly knew what my options were and to be honest seeing and hearing about other women going through the same thing made me feel much better and I knew I could do it too.
There seemed to be very mixed opinions and reviews about Etonox (Gas & Air) with some women saying it was fantastic and others saying it had no effect or made them feel sick or dizzy. But I planned from the start to at least try out the Gas & Air to see if it worked for me during my labour. Once I was finally into fully established labour and allowed to stay at the hospital and have pain relief (I'd been back and forth all day with the midwives keep sending me home saying I wasn't dilated enough yet) I was given Gas & Air pretty much straight away, my water had broke 15 minutes earlier and my contractions were now horrendous, so I was really hoping the Etonox would help.
The midwife gave me a tubey type thing to suck the air out and explained how to do it, she told me to take deep long sucks of the Gas everytime I got a contraction and then to stop when the contraction stopped. I was surprised at how quick this started working for me, almost straight away I could feel the effects which made me feel drunk and I loved it! Instead of feeling stone cold sober and battling every tiny inch of pain that was shooting through my body, I felt tipsy and woosy and kind of just floated my way through each contraction! I think having the tube to suck gave me something to concentrate on too which helped pass the time. I suddenly went from a moody and complaining woman in agony, to chatting like a drunk person and a lot more pleasant!
Don't get me wrong I was still in pain, but the Gas & Air really did massively help. I was sucking in the Gas & Air a little bit too much though and the midwife had to keep telling me to stop saying "Now now Anna that's not a contraction is it, so stop sucking the gas!" Haha. Apparently if you continuously inhale the gas when you're not actually having contractions it can make it less effective when you are having contractions. It was quite addictive probably because of how much it was helping me get through the pain. I have to say though throughout my whole labour in the hospital I was being very sick every 20 minutes or so and this could well be to do with the Etonox, but I still wasn't prepared to stop consuming it because it was helping me so much. The only other painkiller I had was Diamorphine which can also apparently make you sick so it could have also been that, I don't know. What I do know is that whether or not it was the Gas & Air causing the vomiting, that was something I was willing to put up with for the other benefits it was giving me!
Etonox has absolutely no effect on your baby either which is reassuring to know and it definetely puts your mind at rest when inhaling the gas. From going into the hospital and being given the Gas & Air it was another 6 hours until I eventually gave birth, but it only felt like 2-3 hours to me! If I do have another baby I will definetley be using Etonox again for both the relief it gave and the time it helped pass.
*Entonox, or gas and air, is a colourless and odourless gas made up of half oxygen and half nitrous oxide*
There's no doubting that labour is called labour for a reason, it's hard work and can also be extremely painful. I've given birth to five children and with three of those the only pain relief I used was Gas and Air, otherwise known as Entonox. On the scale of things I would consider Entonox to be a mild to moderate method of pain relief, with only nothing at all and TENS being milder and then Pethadine and epidurals being stronger. In fact Entonox is normally the first pain relief offered to most labouring women as it is not only quite effective but is also safe (and possibly even beneficial) to the baby.
==You're Having Laugh==
Entonox is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas comprising of equal quantities of Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide (otherwise known as laughing gas). Nitrous Oxide itself was first used as an analgesic (pain killer) by a dentist in 1844, but is was soon discovered that if it wasn't mixed with oxygen then patients would become hypoxic (not enough Oxygen) and so today it is mixed with oxygen at high pressure and the normal mix is 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen (there's approximately 21% oxygen in the air).
In the maternity wards I've been in there have been two different ways of delivering the Entonox, via a large gas cylinder or a wall connection, to either a mask or mouthpiece. Either way, you simply breathe as normal (yeah right, I'm in labour) and the Entonox then enters the bloodstream via the lungs. Entonox is a fast acting and yet short lived analgesic, taking effect in about thirty seconds but leaving the body within a minute. This means that it's just about the safest form of pain relief, as if you do take too much and begin to pass out, you can't physically hold the mouthpiece to your mouth and it will leave your system very quickly. The fact it's short lived also means that if you don't get on with it for any reason, then it will clear your system quickly meaning other pain relief can be used. In fact it can also be used in conjunction with other pain relief such as Pethadine. The addition of Oxygen in the mix can also be beneficial to the baby, especially as the labouring woman's breathing can become quite erratic.
==The Gas And Me==
Although I have used Gas and Air with all of my labours, I'm now going to focus on my last labour in April 2010, although I may add a few anecdotes from the other four. The first thing to point out here, is that I was induced a week early due to severe Symphis Pubis Dysfunction and after having my waters broken it was discovered that the baby had passed meconium, which was a sign of possible distress, meaning I spent the whole labour on the bed strapped to a monitor. The second thing to note is that it was a very short but intense labour, that did get extremely painful very quickly. The third and final point is that the monitor didn't actually word very well meaning it was hard to tell just how strong the contractions were and there was no warning of them starting (I'll explain why this is relevant in a bit).
I did pretty well for the first hour after my waters were broken, getting by just by practising my breathing exercises, concentrating on the nice deep breathes was enough to distract me from the pain. But then it started getting a bit harder, well a lot harder actually, I would have preferred to have been up and walking about at this point, but because I was being constantly monitored I had to stay put. So when the midwife asked me if I wanted the Gas and Air I jumped at the chance as I knew that while it wouldn't completely kill the pain it would make it easy to deal with.
This time around I was given a mouthpiece to use, in the past I used a mask and if I'm honest I prefer the mouthpiece, it was just so easy to clamp it between my teeth (and the action of biting down helped too). Having used gas and air before, I knew that I had to start taking this at the beginning of the contraction before it got to painful, this is because it takes time to take effect. Within thirty seconds of start to breathe the gas and air in, my head would start to feel woozy and while the pain didn't actually go away, I felt so out of myself that I didn't care about the pain. It was almost like watching someone else going through the pain. My partner has often asked me what the gas and air feels like, and I think that a comment I made half way through my labour says it all really. "I feel stoned", that's almost exactly what it feels like, the effect is very much like having smoked a joint, or drunk too much alcohol. Your limbs feel heavy, your speech slurs and you feel like you're in a bubble which makes everyone else's voices seem far away. Well that's how it feels for me anyway.
I'm not going to say that gas and air made my labour pain free, because it certainly didn't, it was still very painful. But what it did do is make it far easier to deal with the pain, right up until I was almost ready to push and begging for an epidural. (But as I said it was a very short and intense labour). Personally I think there are two reasons why this works so well for me. Firstly the actual effect of the Entonox on me disconnects me from the pain and secondly I find using the entonox encourages me to concentrate more on my breathing.
So far I've only been positive about entonox, but there are a few down sides. Although the gas is tasteless, it does still have a drying effect on my mouth, meaning that I made sure that I always had some water to sip. Entonox can also make you feel sick, just like too much alcohol or weed, whenever this happened I would simply stop taking it for a couple of contractions and because it leaves the system so quickly I'd soon start feeling better. Another downside is that if you don't take this correctly them it won't work. You do need to start breathing it in when the contraction first starts rather than when it gets painful, it really does take practise to get the timing right. But hey, by number five I knew exactly what to do.
I've used entonox in all of my labours, the first of which was over 20 years ago. With that labour I used it alone for the first six hours and then had Pethadine as well, but that was more because it was the early hours and I needed some rest. With my second child, I used just gas and air and she was back to back which means a far more painful labour, but it just went to show that if you get the technique right then entonox can help you get through ten hours of hell (although I did also have a fantastic, supportive midwife). My third labour was a little different as he was seven weeks early and I had been given Pethadine in the hope that it would help me relax and stop the labour progressing. This meant that as the delivery drew near, the Pethadine was just starting to wear off, so I still had a lot of pain at the height of each contraction, but couldn't feel the start of the contraction so I was relying on the monitor to help me work out when to start taking the gas and air. My fourth labour was a breeze, I hardly had time to even start taking gas and air let alone anything else and I've already told you about my fifth labour.
What I love about entonox is that I was in control of my pain relief, and it's so easy to feel out of control while in labour so that bit of control also helped me to cope. I also like that because it's portable it is carried on ambulances, meaning that if you go into labour and it progresses quickly there is a safe form of pain relief available. Talking about safe, I love how this is safe for both myself and my babies and doesn't have any life-threatening side-effects, unlike Pethadine that can make a newborn drowsy. I even like the fact that if I ever decided to have another baby and go down the home birth route (something I'm seriously considering), entonox is a form of pain relief that can be used. It can even be used if I ever decided to have a water birth.
What I don't like about entonox is how dry it makes my mouth, I do always need to make sure I have drinks to sip in labour. I also must admit that I'm not that keen on it coming in canisters, especially as when I had a long labour I managed to go through three and it took time for them to be replaced. I really don't think there's anything I don't like, although the stoned feeling might be off-putting for some.
Whether you call it Entonox or Gas and Air, this is a safe pain relief for those in labour. For me it's the best pain relief available, one that makes it a lot easier to cope with labour and yet one that doesn't leave me or the baby feeling drowsy. I know it's not for everyone, but it's surely something worth considering if you feel you can't cope with no pain relief. Only do make sure that you ask the midwife to show you how to use it correctly as without the correct technique you won't get the full benefit. Hope this has helped you decide whether this is the pain relief for you and good luck with your labour.
''This stuff should me be sold to me!'' . ''I feel like i'm high on hair dye'' . ''is this stuff legal?'' . ''where do i go to find the barrels of this?'' . ''ohhhhh.....yeeeeeeaahh'' - Aaah, quotes of my birth while being high on gas and air. the Gas and Air (Entonox) is made up of Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide both 50% each. The feeling it gives you is a sense of relaxation and calmness. it works literally 30 seconds after using it for the first time and lasts quite a while.
I couldn't get enough of the stuff when giving birth to my 7 month old daughter Angel, and literally had the midwives fighting to get it off me and threatening to take it away - until i started crying like a baby. I used it from 8cm until I eventually passed out from sudden blood loss. It really helped me get by during birth and only had one downfall for me - boy was I sick!! i wont go into detail, but i'll just say that I had given birth on a very empty stomach..
The passing out was definitely NOT a side effect of the Entonox so you don't need to worry about that, I hadn't slept for 2 days straight before that.. The side effects are harmless, you will probably get a dry mouth and throat depending on the amount you use, and possibly the 'light headed' feeling you feel when you have been drinking all night but the Oxygen is actually really good for your baby!
as most women have said ''i couldn't get enough of it in labor'' - after singing Jedwards Under Pressure and talking in a jamaican accent and crying when the midwife left and laughing at a table... it can be very embarrasing... :)
I have to slipped discs in my lower back and was rushed to a&e where I was more or less left on my own with a full bottle of entonox I ended up using the whole bottle due to being in so much pain at 1st it helped a little but not much after about an hour using it I became very aggressive and grumpy which is unlike me at all which leads me to believe I had a reaction to it or using a whole bottle of it has anyone else had similar problems
Entonox - more commonly known as Gas and Air - is 50% Nitrous Oxide and 50% Oxygen. Nitrous Oxide is a medical anaesthesia gas which is used to relieve pain during childbirth and minor operations (Such as Dentistry)
I used this during labour last year. Now, I was told to expect to feel drunk and many friends likened the experience to having alcohol - well I've never had alcohol! (T-Total!) So I was a bit unsure about it all!
Still when one of those contractions kicked in I was soon sucking on the mouthpiece like my life depended on it.
First of all - it made me head spin, or rather it made the room spin! I felt like I was somehow being lifted out of my senses and unable to associate pain anymore...
I didn't like it at first, it was unnerving and I lost control while I was on it. It take 10-20 seconds to enter your system and a further 10 seconds to leave your system. Well I timed it all wrong and my contraction would be peaking when I was just beginning to suck on the gas and air! You're supposed to take a break in between contractions but because I got all the timing wrong I just kept on breathing the stuff!
Yes, my midwife was so negligent in looking at what I was doing - I was continuously breathing the gas and air for 4 hours!!
By this point I lost my eyesight, everything played to me like a broken record - my husband would ask me a question and it would play over and over in my head in this woosy kind of way. I felt the pain of the contractions and moaned into the mouthpiece and remember thinking that I sounded like Darth Vadar....
Anyway it was scary how out of it I was. My head felt like it had inflated several times bigger and I was in a very strange state! When it came to pushing - I had to have the gas and air taken away and did it with no pain relief and it felt so good to have a clear head again!
I have been told that some people feel sick on the gas and air. I didn't experience this and although I moan about it in this review, I'm very glad I had it and doubt I would have survived the horror that is labour without it!!
I used this in May last year and guess what I'll be doing it ALL over again in November this year!! (Crazy I know) I hope that this time I'll be able to time it better and have a break between contractions!
Would reccommend to anyone but wish they let you practise with it beforehand!
My beautiful baby girl was born three weeks ago and so my memories of her birth are still very fresh in my mind. I must say that I was very lucky as my pregnancy and then her birth were uncomplicated. I went into labour at midnight on my due date, quite unusual especially for a first baby... but she is like her Daddy, always on time! I wasn't in pain I just had a niggling back ache and so thought it was just Braxton Hicks until my waters broke at 2 am. I still wasn't in a lot of pain but was advised to go to the labour ward to be examined to make sure all was well. Once we arrived at the hospital two hours later I was four centimetres dialated, so we stayed in. I started to use the gas and air at 6 am as my contractions were coming frequently and I wanted something to take the edge off of the pain.
The gas and air was wheeled in in a cannister. This was something I wasn't expecting as I had been told that there were no cannisters now just a tube and mouthpiece coming out of the wall. The cannister had a mouthpiece attached that you place in your mouth, rather than a mask, which has a handy piece for biting down on if you need too.
The gas and air doesn't have much of a taste to it which is good. It did make me very very dry, and so I drank a LOT of water (something my other half came in very handy for! water boy bless him!)
The Gas and Air itself, made me feel very detached from reality, almost drunk rather than actually taking the pain away. It did however detach me from the pain enough to be able to concentrate on giving birth which I feel really helped me to focus and relax. Something I think made the birth easier for me.
I was sick on the Gas and Air once and this was because my lovely other half force fed me a chocolate just before a contraction started (!) and I inhaled the gas and air with a mouth full of chocolate which wasn't good. If this hadn't happened I dont think that I would have been sick at all.
To get the full effect of the Gas and air I found that I had to breathe the gas in very deeply at the beginning of each contraction, if I breathed it in too late I found myself concentrating on the pain rather than what I was doing.
I had the Gas and Air throughout the labour and birth and couldn't recommend it highly enough. The next baby we have I will definitely be using it again.
I've got two lovely little boys and had a normal delivery with both of them.
My first was six weeks early.. My water's broke early one morning, contractions never started but they could only wait for it to happen naturally for a day or two because of the risk of infection. Well, it didn't which meant I had to be induced. This was completely unnatural, the pain was unbelievably intense.
The first form of pain relief I turned to was gas & air (entonox), it was incredibly helpful in distracting me from the pain. However, as my contractions became increasingly stronger I needed stronger forms of pain relief.
With my second, I was induced once again. However, it was only a week earlier than my due date and all they did was break my waters. Within minutes my contractions started naturally and I gave birth within an hour. Obviously the contractions had to be pretty intense to dilate me in a hour..... they were. Gas & air was my only form of pain relief and I don't know what I would have done without it.
What is gas & air?
Entonox is an odourless gas made up of half nitrous oxide and half oxygen. It is also commonly known as 'laughing gas'. (Yes it makes you feel giggly)
How do you use it?
Gas and air can be used via a mask or a mouth piece. I have only ever used the mouthpiece and found this very helpful to bite on. Although quite a few times I bit the whole thing of and needed to replace it. This can be very annoying during labour.
You need to breathe the gas in very slowly as you start feeling your contraction coming on, this is because it needs time to build up in your system, so it should kick in once your contraction peaks.
You then take the mask or mouth piece away from your face and breathe out slowly...... if you can.
This process needs to be repeated for every contraction as it only works for a minute or so.
What did it make me feel like?
Well, in a word lightheaded! Remember the feeling of when you've had quite a bit to drink? Well, that's another way to describe it. It made me babble on about complete rubbish and laugh alot about silly little things. This is up until the contractions became unbearable...... not a laughing matter no matter how much gas you inhale.
My husbad tried it and it made him feel the same way.
It obviously, also makes your mouth incredibly dry, so make sure you have some water to hand. It may also leave an odd taste in your mouth.
- Fast acting
- Able to use during water birth and home birth
- It doesn't stay in your system
- Dries your mouth out
- Tastes funny
- It's only a mild painkiller
The main reason I tried only using gas and air compared with other forms of pain relief provided by the NHS was that it was completely safe. I used Pethidine with my first boy and it made him very drowsy.
This stuff is great, it needs to be available in shops. I could think of many uses for this delightful gas!! :-)
Entonox or Gas and Air as it is more commonly known is given to ease the pain in child birth, I have had 2 natural births with entonox being my only method of pain relief and it truly is amazing.
I know that some people get very sick with entonox and a lot of people don't like it, I on the other hand couldn't get enough. It is the strangest thing I have ever done by far, like a extra strong version of being drunk, entonox didn't stop the pain it just made it easier to cope and made me feel slightly weird and floaty. I had very strange illusions and found the pain and my surroundings both scary and amusing.
You take entonox through a tube that you breath in, you control how much you have, I kept having as much as possible, the deep breaths of the entonox help your breathing pattern and I found the tube was very handy to bite down on when pushing.
I would recommend this to anyone having a baby, as a first type of pain relief it is very good and chances are you will get through with just this. Don't be put of by the fact it can cause sickness, it doesn't in most cases and even if you have been sick through the pregnancy it doesn't mean this will make you sick, with both my boys I was sick for 7 months solid every morning and most afternoons, even the morning of the birth, but entonox didn't even make me feel sick let alone be sick.
It is worth a try!
My first and only experience of Entonox was in hospital in labour with my daughter.
What exactly is Entonox?
Entonox is better known as gas and air (I wouldn't have even know it's real name if I hadn't have looked it up) and is a anaesthesia gas which is used as a form of pain relief. It can be used for general pain but is most commonly used in child birth. It is a mix of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen. Nitrous oxide is better known as laughing gas.
What does it look like?
Well you can't see Entonox because it's obviously a gas but it comes in a large metal cylinder and was placed next to my hospital bed. I think all delivery rooms have it and you can also use it in birthing pools, which is handy. You sometimes use it through a face mask but most usually through a mouthpiece, which I had. The gas is carried through a pipe which leads from the cylinder to the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece has a big handle on it so it's easy to hold and sort of reminds me of a megaphone! It has no taste or smell.
How do I use it?
Gas and air is self administered which means you can do it when you want and as much as you want. When you're ready you need to put the mouthpiece inbetween your lips and take a breath in. There is a little button on the handle which you need to press whilst taking a breath, this allows the gas and air to be released. After you've taken a breath you then need to let go of the button and breathe the gas back into the mouthpiece rather than into the air - it doesn't matter if you breathe it into the air but if you breathe it back into the mouthpiece then it takes away the carbon dioxide. They say you should breathe in and out just like normal but I personally took deep breathes in and out (particularly towards the end). You can use the gas and air whenever you want to but it's best to use it when the contractions really start to kick in. It takes about 30 seconds to take effect so as soon as you feel a contraction coming, get puffing! Your body automatically tells you when to stop taking the gas and air in so you don't need to worry about knocking yourself out completely - your hand (holding the mouthpiece) will drop from your face.
What does it actually do? What are it's effects?
Due to the 50% laughing gas it is no suprise that it makes you really giddy and giggly. At one point during the early stages of labour I was just sitting there laughing my head off and my other half was so intreuged as to what this stuff actually done that he took a few breaths for himself and we just sat there laughing for a while. It puts you in a really spaced out mood and actually feels very much like being stoned (not that I know about that!) or tipsy. During later stages of labour the laughter sadly wears off and turns into irratic panting into the mouthpiece! I can't say that it took away any pain from the contractions themselves but it definitely helped take my mind off the pain if only for a few seconds. If my mind and body were both concentrating on these contractions I have no doubt that it would have felt a lot worse. The effects of the gas and air only last about 20 seconds at a time but every second counts when you're in labour.
My personal advantages?
The gas and air definitely took the edge off my contractions. It took my mind into it's own little world for a few seconds throughout my contractions and helped me concentrate on something other than the pain. It also seemed to calm me down and space me out which I was extremeley grateful for as giving birth is truly the scariest experience ever. There is a great sense of achievment once you have given birth and realised you have done it without the help of an epidural. I have also heard stories that the oxygen is actually good for the baby too.
My personal disadvantages?
It was no miracle cure, not by any stretch of the imagination. Gas and air wont stop the pain of child birth and is only classed as a mild form of pain relief. If you are looking for a really effective form of pain relief then I would look in the direction of an epidural instead. I noticed that the gas and air can make you feel really sick too, there were a couple of times when I thought I was going to be physically sick but wasn't. I'm not sure why it did this but it wasn't very pleasant - maybe I was overdoing it? It also made my mouth and lips really dry so I'd advise having some water and lip balm on hand. Oh and for some bizarre reason my voice also went really deep after using this through half of my 18 hour labour!
Overall I recommend this to all mums-to-be. It doesn't harm you or the baby and is not classed as a drug. It won't take away the pain but can take the edge off contractions. It's free, easy and you can use it at your own leisure - what's there to lose?
well this is amazing stuff! When i had my daughter i had not really thought about what i was going to have as pain relief and had kind of put the whole pain thing to the back of my mind!
I used gas and air when i had my daughter as i wanted a water birth and you are not able to have any other pain relief when in the pool. I said that i would try it thinking that i would have to get out and have something stronger but it didn't get to that stage!
I was hooked up to a machiene before i got into the pool and it told me when my contractions were happeing as i couldn't feel them - that is how good the entonox was!
I was in labour for several hours however i don't really remember any of it as i was in a haze until it was time to push. It was keeping me really calm and also giving me something to focus on. I did think i wanted something else towards the end but it was tooo late. I am pleased i got there just with gas and air and will try to do the same again next time (it can't have been tooooooo bad if i am considering a next time)!
I am soo pleased as straight after the birth i was able to get up and moving without worrying about what drugs i had used and them being passed on to my child. I won't rule out other drugs in the future (when in labour lol) but it worked lots better then i thought it would.
Use lip balm as it hurts your lips all that sucking
My own experience of using gas and air was during the labour of my son 13 months ago. This was my first experience of labour, and I had no idea what to expect. My only form of pain relief was using the gas and air. This was because I had decided to have a water birth. Which means that you cannot have any other form of pain relief. Unfortunately I didn't get to have the water birth as my baby had done a poo inside of me, which meant that I was not allowed to go into the water. By this time I had gone past the stage at which you are allowed to have any other form of pain relief, so I was left with just the gas and air. I must say that my experience of using it was a disapointing one. I expected to feel the traditional symptoms such as feeling feint, sickness, woosey, but I had none of that. But I also had none of the benefits....it did absolutely nothing for my pain. I would put money on the fact that my tank was empty!! It wasn't until after my delivery that the midwives said that a good tip is to suck on the gas and air when you feel your tummy getting tight, as there is a slight delay in getting any relief from the gas and air. If only I had been told that at the time!!!!!!!!
I wasnt sure about having gas and air at first, ive seen my mum take it for her hip when its disloacted nad it just seemed to really send her in a daze ,which i didnt find nice to watch it would also make her feel sick which i didnt like the thought of either. But when it come to been in the delivery room i need pain relief i was having twins as it was but contractions are not the best pain in the world and can be agony. I already pretty much know how to use it because of seeing my mum take it but it is really easy to do, as soon as your feeling a contraction you have to take a really deep breathe in. it does relive some of the pain but it doesnt go away totally and you have to take it continuosly for each contraxtion for it to take effect. I also had epidural but the gas and air was great when i was just getting started ifnact i think i used it around 3 or 4 hours.
When I first went into hospital to have my son, the midwife gave me paracetamol as I was only 2cms dilated! (I found out later that she didn't have children of her own). Luckily there was a shift change not long after I arrived and the next midwife was fantastic, she offered me the gas and air and showed me how to use it. I was a bit dubious as I know so many people who had used it and it made them feel sick. but at that stage I would have had anything I was given! The hospital I was in has individual rooms and the gas and air is connected to a main supply so I didn't have to worry about it running out. The way it works is as soon as you feel a contraction, you take a deep breath in through the tube, then breath out without taking the tube out of your mouth. It doesn't actually kill the pain but does take the edge off it, this probably also has a lot to do with the fact you're concentrating on your breathing. I went on to have diamorphine but continued using the gas and air aswell and once a contraction had passed I just lay on the bed totally relaxed and drifting into my own little world. II can remember feeling totally spaced out but holding on to the tube for dear life.I was asking my mother about a man who wasn't there and complaining to my partner that he hadn't bought me a Christmas card! The hospital even had a portable gas and air unit so women could use it in the bath, unfortunately they only had one and someone else was using it at the time. Im not sure if all hositals have these but it's a great idea. The worst thing I found was it gave me a really dry mouth, I drank litres of water which eventually made me sick (I was not a pretty sight in labour). I would definitely recommend gas and air to anyone in labour as it dulls the pain and does not have an effect on your baby. It's also quite nice to have that lightheaded, giggly feeling when you havn't been out in 9 months.I totally admire women who get by without pain relief
The times of giving birth in pain by defult are gone. It all started with chloroform in the 19th century and for mothers now there is a whole array of options including of course the possibility of virtually pain-free labour with a 100% successful epidural.
In Poland where I come from any pain relief became common in labour only in my adulthood - my mother gave birth to two children with no pain relief, my sister to one, and so did quite a few of my friends. I thus felt quite lucky to be able to even contemplate options for easing the labour pains.
Entonox (or 'gas and air') is supposed to be one of the 'lighter' options of pain relief, just a notch above relaxation and breathing techniques and a TENS machine. People would say to you "oh, it's good of you to have managed all of this JUST on gas and air".
Technically, gas and air, (officially known as Entonox), is 50% oxygen and 50% nitrous oxide and you administer it yourself by inhaling from a mouthpiece. You should breathe in as soon as the contraction starts and by the time it reaches its peak the level of gas should build up sufficiently to take off at least some of the pain.
It's one of the few higher-tech pain relief methods available for home births and it's often used in the later phases of the first stage of labour when the contractions are strong and frequent while no pushing is required. Its uses in the second (pushing) stage are less as the light-headed and relaxed feeling it produces can (but doesn't have to) interfere with pushing. But then not much apart from perfectly working epidural can provide full pain relief in the second stage anyway.
It's apparently virtually impossible to overdose on Entonox as when the gas starts to make you feel too light-headed, muscles relax and you drop the mouthpiece. There is no effect on the baby (the oxygen content might be even good for it) and the drug gets expelled from your body very soon after you stop breathing it. This is one of the biggest advantages in my opinion: you yourself are in control of when and how much you use contraction to contraction, and you can stop any time which is not possible once let's say epidural or an opiate injection is administered. The disadvantage is that if you like the feeling you might overuse it and get bit too high... (I did!).
Long usage can produce dry mouth: I used my mouthpiece passionately for about 8 hours (including 3 hours of screaming and pushing - or often non-pushing due to overusing Entonox ;-)) and my mouth was not just dry but my gums were bleeding too, possibly because I simply hit myself with the mouthpiece in the rush to get my fix.
Some women get nauseous when using gas and air, and some don't like the light-headed feeling associated with it. I personally loved it and I would risk saying that if you enjoy a state of being stoned (or mild to moderate drunkenness) you would be likely to like gas and air!
The pain relief provided by gas and air is apparently not sufficient for some people. I would say that in my experience it was completely sufficient for the whole of the first stage and the transition, but it wasn't possible to use enough of it and be still capable of pushing coherently (yes, there is such a thing as pushing coherently) in the second stage. The mouthpiece was rationed to me during the second stage and I engaged in plenty of tearful pleading and not very coherent negotiations with my husband and the midwife over access so I suffered a lot of quite a bad pain (c'mon, childbirth does hurt like hell!!!). I wouldn't say that pushing is impossible with Entonox, but it's certainly less efficient so overall such rationing was probably a good thing.
You can't walk about and still have access to your mouthpiece (there is only so much pipe length plus your legs can get weak). However, I would say that if you are in a state to be able to walk about any distance you probably don't need constant pain relief, while by the time this becomes crucial you will be probably less mobile anyway.
I spend pretty much all of my first stage sitting and gently bouncing on a birthing ball (what a fantastic piece of kit that is!!) so I could use the Entonox easily; after the transition I was on the bed and later on with legs in stirrups, so mobility wasn't an issue. The full effect of pain-relief was made clear to me when I (once only!) decided to go to the loo and thus was not using the gas for a while - and the next contraction to come had me literally down on my knees against the wall with pain instead of slightly squirming until the gas kicked in.
As you cna probably guess, highly recommended, and I wished I could take it home with me.