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The use of Entonox analgesia in Labour

Updated on November 17, 2014

What is Entonox?

Entonox or gas and air is a mixture of gases called Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen. It comes in a compressed gas cylinder if you are mobile or some delivery units have it piped into the mains on the wall. You usually inhale it through a plastic mouthpiece or a rubber mask.

It is not only used in labour, gas and air is also used as a quick pain reliever in emergency departments and carried by ambulance crews.


Is Entonox analgesia safe to use?

Yes it is safe to use in labour as it can be controlled by you. Gas and air enters your body very quickly and it wears off just as quickly too as soon as you stop using it. It Takes about 15 seconds to peak - hopefully by this time it takes the edge off the height of contractions.

How effective is Entonox?

Gas and air wont take the pain away completely.

It can make you more relaxed in labour and because you have to breathe it in and out all the time it actually helps you with your rhythm of breathing to help you cope in labour.

You can use it by breathing in and out of a mouthpiece or mask and It can be used at any time during your labour.

Entonox During Labour

What are the advantages of Gas and Air?

  • Gas and Air is safe for you and the baby
  • It is readily available whenever you need it.
  • It is an effective analgesia in First stages of Labour
  • One of the main advantages of using Gas and air is that it is non-invasive.
  • Gas and air can also be used alongside other pain relief in labour.
  • Can use entonox in labour and still be mobile

What are the disavantages of Gas and Air?

Gas and Air can have some minor side effects but not all women are affected by these.

  • It can make you feel lightheaded or a nauseas for a short time. Its just a case of getting used to it as the more you use gas and air, the side effects will pass. The midwife can give you some anti sickness medication if makes you feel very unwell.
  • Some women report experiencing tingling around the nose and mouth or even an itchy nose, usually this occurs if the Gas and Air is used without pain ie: in between contractions.
  • If used too early in Labour( ie: in Latent phase of labour), gas and air can become non-effective if used for far too long, your body will get used to it.
  • Can be used with Pethidine and Remifentanil but can make you more drowsier than without it.
  • Can make your mouth very dry so drink plenty of water and bring a lip balm or use ice cubes if a freezer is available.

Quick Overview Of Entonox

  • Can use this in any stages of Labour if needed
  • Safe to use - wont affect your baby
  • Non-Invasive
  • Entonox can be used with all types of pain relief

Quick Tip

  • Drink plenty of water and use a lip balm in labour as entonox can make your mouth dry


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    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      So it's like the "laughing gas" the dentists use?

      I've had my 6 kids, so I'm done giving birth ~ this would have never entered my mind as an option though.

      I had all of my labors drug free.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting. I had not heard of this option. It sounds like a nice alternative to invasive pain management during labor.