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Ban on gas and air during childbirth?

(51 Posts)
Daisymae Sun 26-Feb-23 22:09:38

Seems that some trusts have banned the use of gas and air
seems barbaric to me, surely there needs to be an alternative or ventilation?

Ilovecheese Tue 28-Feb-23 12:59:19

All gas and air did was muffle the screams!

Allsorts Wed 01-Mar-23 07:32:06

Some people need it more than others, I think if those banning it were to experience the pain for 5 minutes they would be begging for it. Why!woukd anyone want women to suffer more than is necessary?

nanna8 Wed 01-Mar-23 07:37:00

I had pethidine for my first labour- useless stuff just made me feel drunk and I refused it for all my next ones. I had gas and air for one, nothing for the other two. They did give us ‘breathing’ lessons which took your mind off things a bit. Must say I was glad after my last one to think I wouldn’t have to go through that again!

Growing0ldDisgracefully Wed 01-Mar-23 11:40:28

I agree that measures should be taken to ensure the safety of staff AND the relief of pain for women in labour. It is barbaric to expect women to go without help. I had gas and air, then they topped up the pain relief with pethidine, the latter causing me to become delirious.
In discussing this with Mr GO, he said that as woman have delivered children for years why do we need pain relief!!!
I shall deal with him later......

nanna8 Wed 01-Mar-23 11:47:52

Most of them here have epidurals these days but they weren’t available when I had mine. They seem to do Caesareans at the drop of a hat but you used to have to be half dead before they would even consider them. Of my 4 daughters only 1 has had a ‘natural’ birth. My grandchildren, however, have such quick births they don’t have time to get their knives out, thank goodness.

Smileless2012 Wed 01-Mar-23 11:51:52

DS was a forceps delivery. Bad enough with gas and air!!!

ExDancer Wed 01-Mar-23 11:54:43

I found it useless, both times, at the second birth I actually asked if the cylinder was empty, yet my daughter said it was magic when she had her babies 20+ years later
But before they take something away they should find a viable alternative first. Don't you find it strange no-one has found a more effective pain relief than they were using in the 1960s and before? (but that's for another topic).
Surely they can open a window whilst the room is being cleaned for the next patient?

undines Wed 01-Mar-23 12:04:36

I am very suspicious about this
Has some NHS official (of which there are thousands) had some kind of nudge from a drug company, to steer women towards, well, drugs. Gas and air is of course a drug, but how profitable? Who profits? And are pethidine and epidurals more lucrative? But maybe I am over-sceptical. Certainly in regard to health-damage to the professionals, I would have thought the stress and overwork are of greater concern. If it's just a matter of B12 that could be replaced by supplements. Whatever, it is appalling and my heart goes out to those poor women labouring without pain relief. What horror story next, from our struggling NHS?

Coco51 Wed 01-Mar-23 12:08:37

Gas & Air and pethidine did nothing for me, nor the local anaesthetic I had for the episiotomy (they were all the rage in 70s and 80s) No-one much bothered with me until I went in to shock with pp haemorrhage and nearly died, which gave the obstetritian: ’Quite a scare’
I was terrified when I was in labour the second time, but after 20 hours eventually had an epidural, and anti haemorrhage injection, so was fine.
My daughter wanted a water birth for her first but delivered too quickly and it was all over in 6 hours with no pain relief at!

Yellowmellow Wed 01-Mar-23 13:29:11

Gas and,Air and Pethadine for the first two. Hated Pethadine as it made me feel sick and did sweet nothing. Epidural for two youngest....know what ld go for everyone

4allweknow Wed 01-Mar-23 13:36:05

Never had gas and air. Labour for 17 hours first time, no anaesthetic for episiotomy. Second labour 9 hours until discovery twin 1 was brow presentation, second was breech. Was in hospital and staff panicked when labour started as they anticipated very quick delively. 9 hours later with two Drs summoned, forceps and all the rest, delivery successful.
Another episiotomy with no anaesthetic.

missdeke Wed 01-Mar-23 13:41:42

I had pethadine for my first but I fell asleep and woke up to push. For the next three I had nothing but had my first taste of gas and air last year when I broke my hip, I needed it so they could get me off the awkward position I was in in the garden. I must say I thought it was great and I understand why women use it for birth pains.

Lizzies Wed 01-Mar-23 14:01:46

I had pethedine when in early labour and don’t remember anything about the birth. I was so disoriented later that night that when I realised I was bleeding,instead of using the call bell, I went wandering down the corridor looking for someone to help. I wasn’t popular! My mother came to visit me in the maternity home two days after I gave birth and she asked my husband what was the matter with me because I didn’t seem all there. The other ladies in the home did say that I was very quiet and they didn’t realise that I was giving birth.

Lizbethann55 Wed 01-Mar-23 14:21:14

Decision made by a man????

marymary62 Wed 01-Mar-23 14:45:42

I do hope that pain relief for mothers and safety of their babies is made a priority here. Childbirth in pain and fear surely belong in the mid 19th century . I cannot believe that so little has moved on in terms of pain relief in childbirth. Is it still seen as some ‘rite of passage ‘ ? ‘. Women on painful labour for hours and hours - emergency caesareans - poor outcomes for both mother and child. That a maternity ward was “out” of gas and air is beyond belief - they relay on women just being so grateful to get a live baby and not making a fuss . It all sounds barbaric . Why aren’t we all shouting from the rooftops - it’s a man’s world and if they had to go through this something would be done
Surely there are ways to mitigate any adverse affect on staff of gas and air if it is really ‘a thing’

Silverlady333 Wed 01-Mar-23 14:46:13

I had pethadine for my 1st and it was as if I was drunk. My whole labour was 3 hours from my waters breaking. Consequently I was too whoosey to push and ended up with an episiotomy, also the cord was around his neck.
Baby number two was a much bigger baby. I opted for gas and air. However that labour was only 2 hours long. I was with a student and she was not allowed to get me anything. By the time the midwife came along 1 hour into my labour and I was really suffering (quite dilated by then) she gave me gas and air however I was told I couldn't have it for the pushing part and I was fighting with my husband for the mask!. I begged the bitch of a midwife to give me another episiotomy but she just said 2nd baby no need! So I tore badly and was stitched up like a Buxted Chicken! My 1st was 7lb and the 2nd was 8.5 lb! I am only little, I have never forgiven that midwife!

Musicgirl Wed 01-Mar-23 14:46:52


Decision made by a man????

My thoughts exactly. I have a high pain threshold but found gas and air had no effect. I had pethidine twice with my first baby and could have done with an epidural but it was a little too late for it. After he was born, l fitted; it was eclampsia. Both my subsequent babies were spine to spine - excruciating. The epidural was the best thing I had. I was told I needed it after what happened the first time. This was the nineties. I had straightforward pregnancies but difficult births. I find it appalling that women in labour are not being offered the most basic of pain relief. Gas and air should always be the first pain relief offered - it was always considered the most basic. I have full admiration for those of you who managed with breathing exercises but many women need more.

Notagranyet1234 Wed 01-Mar-23 14:54:11

What I can't understand is why they don't just offer prophylactic vitamin B12 to staff with regular blood tests for monitoring. This is common in other areas of employment where exposure to hazards are baffled by this action it seems out of all proportion and suspect if true it is a knee jerk reaction. There have always been risks working in healthcare, COVID-19 is a prize example, as is exposure to anaesthetic gases in theatre, I suspect that there's more to this than meets the eye

Saetana Wed 01-Mar-23 16:11:02

Women's pain is not considered as important as men's pain in the NHS - its not just an issue with childbirth. Women are far less likely to get decent treatment for their pain than men, so the statistics show at least.

Rusume Wed 01-Mar-23 18:22:30

I had gas and air when giving birth the first time. I still felt a lot of pain and must have really been crying out as when I looked, my other half, who had been holding my hand, had fainted clean away! He’s a medical man - a dentist!!! 🤣🤣🤣

nipsmum Thu 02-Mar-23 11:05:05

Gas and air made me go it so I had pethidine when on labour twice.

nipsmum Thu 02-Mar-23 11:06:20

That should be gas and air made me vomit.

happycatholicwife1 Thu 02-Mar-23 16:12:19

Epidurals are what most women get in US. Gas and air is what I got back in the 60s. Most women have a planned induction and an epidural. I don't know of anybody here who gets gas and air, unless they just get caught out at some remote medical location with no facilities to speak of. So, do you mean the NHS is meaning to do away with anything but natural childbirth? 😧

Daisymae Sun 05-Mar-23 14:59:24
This poor woman was given minimum pain relief, 5ml of morphine. I had assumed that alternative pain relief would be offered. Seems not. We're not living in Victorian England.

Daisymae Sun 05-Mar-23 15:01:04


Women's pain is not considered as important as men's pain in the NHS - its not just an issue with childbirth. Women are far less likely to get decent treatment for their pain than men, so the statistics show at least.

I think that you've hit the nail on the hea