This blog post has been peer-reviewed by Expert Midwife - Jennifer Johnson RM LBCLC

What is Entonox?

Pregnancy is a truly incredible experience that can be filled with many different emotions. However, it can also come with some discomfort and pain, making it essential to manage these sensations as best as possible. One option that can help with pain relief is Entonox, which many pregnant women find can help reduce the intensity of the pain they experience during childbirth. In this blog article, we will look at how you can make sure that Entonox is available to you when you're ready to give birth – so you can stay comfortable throughout.

When labour begins, your contractions will start to increase in intensity and frequency. It is around this time that you will start to feel significant pain and may feel the need for some form of pain relief. For many women, this is when they request Entonox. Entonox is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen and is inhaled through a mouthpiece. The nitrous oxide helps to relax you and takes the edge off the sensations of contractions, while the oxygen helps to keep you safe and prevents you from feeling dizzy or nauseous.

Many women find that Entonox is an extremely effective form of pain management during childbirth, and it can be used throughout labour until you feel the need to push. It is important to note that Entonox does not take away all sensation or feeling – you will still be aware of what is happening and will still feel some pain. However, the majority of women report that it does help to make the pain more manageable.


Is gas and air available at my hospital?

The first step is to discuss with your local Maternity unit whether any plans are in place or upcoming that may affect your ability to access Entonox.

Currently, in the UK - March 2023 - numerous maternity units have withdrawn it as an option until they can guarantee safe levels for staff.

Call your local maternity unit's triage number for a quick method of getting updated information.

What if it's not available in my hospital?

Mobile cylinders of Entonox will be available for homebirths. Consider a homebirth if you would prefer to use Entonox and it has been withdrawn from your hospital. Discuss homebirth with your community Midwife as a starting point.

woman in labour in the pool uses entonox as pain relief during a homebirth

Can I buy gas and air instead?

Entonox can only be bought by a registered Midwife or maternity provider that holds the correct license to use it. Gas and air is a prescribed medication.

How do I guarantee access to a homebirth with Entonox?

Many maternity units are having to continually review their offer of homebirth services due to the ongoing staff crisis in UK maternity units.

An Independent Midwife can provide full antenatal and birth support, as well as purchase Entonox, especially for your birth. Hiring an Independent Midwife is a significant investment in your birthing experience, however, research shows that this continuity model has both the safest and most positive birthing outcomes for mother and baby.

If you would like to guarantee access to Entonox and a homebirth, consider hiring an Independent Midwife for private maternity and birth care at home. 

Try to find an Independent Midwife near you.

Or if you live within Northwest England, speak to Sarah and Jenny at My Independent Midwife to see how we can help support you.