YES! Hypnobirthing is about knowing whats available, it’s about being informed and making decisions that are right for you.
Gas and air, or entonox, is a pain-relieving gas. It is a mixture of 50% oxygen and 50 per cent nitrous oxide (commonly known as ‘laughing gas’). It’s usually available in both a hospital and home setting and can be used whether you are labouring on land or in water!
The good thing about gas and air is you administer it yourself, breathing through a mask or often a mouthpiece, which you hold in place and use to inhale the gas.
It takes about 30 seconds for it to really take effect so it’s important to start using it as soon as you feel a contraction/surge starting. By the time it’s at its peak, you’ll be receiving the full effect of the gas. You don’t have to remove the mouthpiece as you exhale but can leave it there, taking deep breaths in and out.
Some women choose to use the gas and air quite early on in their labour, whereas others may only need it towards the end, or not at all.
There are of course other ways of supporting yourself such as staying at home for as long as possible, keeping upright and moving around alongside your Hypnobirthing tools and techniques!
What are the advantages of gas and air?
You self-administered, via a mask or mouthpiece, so you feel more in control.
It’s known to be safe both for you and your baby.
Some women find it helps them with their breathing
You can stop using it as quick as you started and it quickly clears from your system.
It can be used during a home or hospital birth.
You can still be mobile, changing positions while using it.
It can be used in a bath or birthing pool.
You can keep it with you for as long as you feel you need to.
There’s no indication for continual monitoring of your baby’s heartbeat, therefore increasing your mobility.
You can still use other pain relief such as pethidine or an epidural.
What are the disadvantages of gas and air?
Some women report that it makes them feel nauseous or have a feeing of being out of control and light-headed.
The key thing to remember is that Hypnobirthing doesn’t exclude you from opting for any other comfort measures should you decide to need some more support. Gas and Air might be the one to give you that extra bit of support when and if you need it.