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15 Pain Relief Alternatives to Gas & Air

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

If you're pregnant right now and worrying about pain during labour, you’re definitely not alone. Unsurprisingly it’s a common concern.

You might also be looking for pain relieving alternatives to Gas and Air, also known as Entonox. It's a regularly used comfort measure in labour and birth, which is safe for women and birthing people and their babies. Recently, it has been suspended from use at some maternity units in the UK (pending review) due to maternity ward air quality concerns and the potential risk that extended exposure poses to the health of midwives and health care staff.

This blog is to explain that you have LOADS of options to help you manage your pain and sensations during labour, both non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical.

It is up to you to make an informed decision about what feels best for you and your baby. You can use the BRAIN (Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Instinct, Nothing) acronym to help you decide.

What are my non-pharmaceutical options?

You have loads of options here, many of them proven by studies to have physiological benefits, meaning they support your birthing body and birth hormones (read more about the awesome birth hormones and their importance here)

You could use multiple options together for maximum effect, like a birthy pain relief pick and mix...enjoy!

  1. Beta-endorphins: Your body’s built in pain relief system - MANY time more powerful than morphine!

  2. Water: Birth pool, hot water bottle, shower, bath

  3. Hypnobirthing: Self-hypnosis, deep relaxation, visualisations, massage, positive anchors

  4. Breathing

  5. Active birth – movement

  6. Aromatherapy

  7. Acupuncture & Acupressure

  8. Continuous support

  9. Nipple & clitoral stimulation

  10. TENS Machine

  11. Comb

  12. Sterile Water Injections

You can read the detail and evidence of these options here.

What are my pharmaceutical options?

Some of these can provide significant comfort. As with most things in life, they also have pros and cons. You can read about the detail of each of these options here.

  1. Gas and Air (Entonox)

  2. Drugs: Paracetamol

  3. Opioid Drugs: Pethidine, Meptid, Diamorphine, Remifentanil, Dihydrocodeine

  4. Epidural

As I said at the start, it's up to you to do your research and make an informed decision about what feels best for you and your baby.

You always have options!

Think of these lists as tool kits, each one is an option and the more you know know the bigger your birth tool kit.

If you have any specific questions, speak to your maternity team.

If you have found this helpful, please leave a comment below.

I teach group and private 1:1 Hypnobirthing courses to help you get informed and feel confident, relaxed and empowered for your baby's birth.

Click HERE for the latest group course dates.

Alternatively get in touch to ask about private 1:1 availability.

Charlotte x

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