How a popular method for pain relief during labor has harmful greenhouse gas emissions ;


A mother-of-three said that the environment was “the last thing on her mind” when she was in labor and that she had to keep grabbing to get rid of the gas and air.

Entonox, known as gas and air, has been a popular method for pain relief during labor for years.

However, as part of its fight against harmful greenhouse gas emissions, the NHS has warned that the use of Entonox in Scotland is “equivalent to 18,000 transatlantic flights”.

Instead, the health service offers a water injection to ease contractions.

Speaking on her Good Morning Britain show, mum blogger Lucy Baker said the move “puts pressure on women again”.

A mother-of-three said the environment was

A mother-of-three said the environment was “the last thing on her mind” during labor, criticizing parents who opt for gas and air during birth amid reports it could be harmful planet

“Will you feel guilty if you took the water injections and not the air but the water injections after the baby was born?” she asked.

“We know that gas and air work. It completely relieves the pain – it’s a great method.”

Speaking about her own contractions, Lucy said that gas and air gave her enormous relief at a “critical moment”.

“I was at the point where the baby was stressed, I was stressed – it was going to be an emergency C-section,” she revealed.

“And then I was offered gas and air and I took it and loved it and it relieved the pain and made sure I could cope with the situation I was in.”

However, mother-of-one Kate Hofman says she wishes she knew about the effects of gas and air before going into labor so she could “calculate it.”

“I think the most important thing is as we all make our birth plans, the more information you can give people before they go into labor and prepare for it, the better informed they will be,” she told the program.

“And that has to do with all the decisions we make as parents around sustainability, what we want to feed our children, what diapers we want to use…”

However, mother-of-one Kate Hofman says she wishes she knew about the effects of gas and air before going into labor so she could

However, mother-of-one Kate Hofman says she wishes she knew about the effects of gas and air before going into labor so she could “calculate it.”

Should gas and air be banned during labour Debate breaks

1696856560 227 Should gas and air be banned during labour Debate breaks

1696856562 266 Should gas and air be banned during labour Debate breaks

However, social media users appeared to side with Lucy, saying that asking anyone to think about sustainability while in labor was unreasonable

However, social media users appeared to side with Lucy, saying that asking anyone to think about sustainability while in labor was unreasonable

Kate stressed that she is not a doctor and has no medical experience, adding that the water injections appeared to be a viable alternative.

“I understand that they have been used for pain relief in other parts of the world for years,” she explained.

The Scottish Government had previously suggested in a letter to all health boards that women should be discouraged from taking Entonox for the good of the planet.

Last week, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) regulator backed the use of sterile water in England.

NHS Lothian and NHS Ayrshire and Arran have confirmed they are offering the vaccinations alongside other forms of pain relief.

Deep breathing or jolts in the back?

GAS & AIR, known as Entonox, is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen that is self-administered through a mouthpiece.

  • The mixture was first developed in 1933 by anesthesiologist Robert James Minnitt and instrument maker Charles King. It is thought to work by blocking neurotransmitters and releasing the feel-good chemical dopamine – thereby relieving pain rather than eliminating it.
  • It works quickly and safely and is not harmful to the unborn child, but is considered harmful to the environment.

STERILE WATER is injected into four locations in the lower back;

  • First mentioned in 1885, it was used for minor surgeries and kidney stones
  • It has been used as a labor force in Sweden, Canada, Asia and Australia since the 1980s
  • Although it is unclear how it works, scientists believe that pain perception in the back is blocked by pain receptors in the skin being irritated by the injections.
  • Although some studies found that injections significantly reduced back pain, patients complained of the intense burning sensation during the injection
  • Sterile water has no long-term effects – and is environmentally friendly

NHS Lothian’s online advice for pregnant women states: “It is particularly useful in early labor and we have seen great results with this form of pain relief.”

The NICE guidance tells healthcare staff: “Consider intracutaneous or subcutaneous injections of sterile water as a pain relief option for women in labor with back pain.” These injections can be given by a midwife trained in the use of sterile water injections .

“Explain to the woman that injections with sterile water ten minutes after the injection can provide relief from back pain for up to three hours, but there may be a stinging sensation initially.”

However, social media users appeared to side with Lucy, saying that asking anyone to think about sustainability while in labor was unreasonable.

“The last thing on a birthing mother’s mind is saving the planet,” said someone on X – formerly known as Twitter.

“No, at this moment we just need pain relief!!!!”

“Only agree to this if there is a specifically male equivalent to saving the planet.” “It doesn’t ease the pain, it just makes it uncaring,” a second added.

Elsewhere, some expressed concerns about the injection alternatives.

“Injections with sterile water, I’ve never heard of that before,” wrote one.

‘Injection?????? You must be crazy. “I don’t know what’s in it,” wrote another. “Maintain gas and air supply, it will also be needed in the emergency room.”

Proponents of vaccinations say they are cheap and effective – but not everyone agrees.

TV doctor Amir Khan described NICE’s guidance as “extremely worrying” and author and palliative care specialist Rachel Clarke said it was “stunning”.

The National Childbirth Trust website says the treatment is “unusual” but adds: “There is evidence that it may help. “It is usually used in women who suffer from severe back pain during labour.”

It’s unclear exactly how the injections work, but one theory is that they prevent back pain signals from reaching the brain.

In one study, six out of ten women said the vaccinations were effective.

However, during a consultation on the treatment, the Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association wrote: “What possible biologically plausible explanation is there for the benefit of intracutaneous or subcutaneous injections of water in volumes of 0.1 to 0.4 ml?”

“Because it is cheap and unlikely to cause harm, it is inadequate.”

Justification for recommendation, particularly as NICE does not recommend other similar non-pharmacological therapies such as acupuncture and hypnosis.”

The Scottish Medicines Consortium, which advises panels on the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new medicines, said: “Pain relief in childbirth is not a licensed use of sterile water for injection and therefore does not fall within the remit of the SMC.”

The Scottish Government’s plan submitted to the panels will see expectant mothers play their part in reducing the environmental impact of Entonox in a “collaborative mitigation approach”.

NHS Scotland Assure acknowledges the benefits of Entonox, but says that “Entonox alone is responsible for emissions within NHS Scotland similar to those of 18,000 flights from Frankfurt to New York”.