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Ineffective gas & air - was I doing it wrong?

(25 Posts)
Tiddlyompompom Wed 19-Sep-12 22:34:54

When I was in labour with DS I had the gas and air mouthpiece in almost constantly for hours on end, having been told to breathe in and out through it. It didn't seem to actually help with the pain tho, so apologies for a probably daft question, but was I doing it wrong?

I'm pretty sure it was 'on' as I occasionally felt a little dizzy, which got better when I took the G&A mouthpiece out, but I never felt any of the 'drunk' or happy away-with-the-fairies sensations every told me about, and it didn't seem to help with the pain either!

DS was back to back for a big chunk of the labour, and tbh I didn't cope fabulously well with the pain (didn't expect it to feel like I was shitting an elephant!), so while I didn't think it was working for me I didn't dare try a contraction without the G&A. <wuss emoticon>

I'm hoping to try for a home birth with dc2, but am a bit wary of only having G&A available after last time! What do you reckon, was I doing it wrong, or is it just not very effective for some people?

Asmywhimsytakesme Wed 19-Sep-12 22:36:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hassled Wed 19-Sep-12 22:39:15

Maybe if you hadn't had it, it all would have been a hell of a lot worse? It's impossible to say - people have different pain thresholds, back to back labours are awful; it could well be that the G&A did take a significant % of the pain away but of course you can't measure that.

combinearvester Wed 19-Sep-12 22:41:38

It isn't really pain relief, it is just supposed to take you out of yourself a bit so the pain isn't your intensive focus iyswim.

In my experience it was a bit like being stoned but it stops distracting you at a certain point - there's nothing like being 8cm dilated to sober you up grin

You are supposed to start your big deep breath before the start of the next contraction, so the deepest effect is being felt at the peak of the contraction - if you were just breathing in and out normally through the mouthpiece you might not have timed it right maybe?

Tiddlyompompom Wed 19-Sep-12 22:49:03

This is what worries me Hassled! I got to the 'Can't cope any more, want an epidural' stage, and it turned out I was fully dilated and ready to push - they had told me I had hours to go, and I def couldn't have taken it for that long!

Also, DS was 4wks early, so I'm slightly concerned that I've no idea what a full-term labour is like - DSs head was tiny!

Hassled Wed 19-Sep-12 22:52:25

But you did cope, didn't you? And you have your boy smile. My first was back to back - it was horrendous. None of the rest were - and your pain threshold will have been raised by that experience, so I'm sure you'll be fine. But if this is going to make you anxious and stressed and you want more options (ie the epidural) than you'll get delivering at home, it might be time for a rethink.

Nagoo Wed 19-Sep-12 22:56:24

The G&A didn't work for my back to back boy either. I just felt sick.

It was a bloody revalation when I had G&A with Baby Goo. I felt like I was in a tardis, it was brilliant. She was the right way round, it was SO different smile

Nagoo Wed 19-Sep-12 22:58:28

I don't think the head size had anything to do with the pain, it all seemed positioning for me. When I had DS the back pain was atrocious. I was equally pleased that had gone as I was to have my baby I think <half-joking>

Ginger4justice Wed 19-Sep-12 23:07:46

I never got the gas and air to work either. I think it was the timing the breathing thing, because I'd be like f* that hurts ... oh its gone(ish) ... ohhhhh I feel spinny and sick ... back to normal ... repeat. Gave up using it but liked to hold it just in case. Dh wrestled it off me at the Drs request once the forceps came out. <irrational dislike for dr who delivered my dd successfully>.

Umm no actual helpful advice but you are not alone. I think of it as a good thing as my DH thinks I'm hard as nails as until the forceps I gave birth on mainly paracetamol. Like hassled said you did cope and if your DS was back to back and you weren't put off having another you are definitely hard as nails! Even if it didn't feel it at the time.

SparklyGothKat Wed 19-Sep-12 23:14:40

I was completely gone on the gas and air with dd3 I was in Greek times in my head! grin
I did have a very intense 4cms to delivery in 20 mins which I'm sure didn't help as it was one contraction and I was breathing it for 20 mins straight.
It didn't work when I had ds2 tho, I just couldn't get it to work for me.

Tiddlyompompom Wed 19-Sep-12 23:34:28

Maybe it was my timing that was off then - I struggled to figure out when contractions were coming, there was no gentle hill-climb, it was BAM! every time, and eventually it was just one giant non-stop rollercoaster...

Thanks for the input, I think next time around I need to get DH to help me time my contractions and coach me rather than trying to nick the G&A off me for recreational purposes

Fingers crossed that no.2 decides to stay the right way around!

SquidgersMummy Thu 20-Sep-12 00:13:05

I read (on MN) to take a huuuge breath in as soon as you think a contraction is coming - as though you are trying to fill every corner of your lungs - it was great for me, but I could feel a quick bit of build up before the BAM so I went for it massively in these few seconds. Did leave me with a dry tickle in my throat for a week or so. Dont discount it - I found it fantastic and you could too this time. Best of luck.


LeFreak Thu 20-Sep-12 00:59:31

Gas and age doesn't take the pain away, it just stops you caring about it so much.

I was off my head and talking about Robert Kilroy Silk quite randomly to the midwife.

The pain was still there though (also a back to back labour).

HairExtensions Thu 20-Sep-12 01:13:41

I thought it wasn't working at all, no effect whatsoever ... Until a contraction hit when I went to the bathroom to do a urine sample, and I literally crawled back to that mouthpiece grin

HairExtensions Thu 20-Sep-12 01:15:43

The pain of back to back was immensely worse for me, the contractions were in my bum blush

Asmywhimsytakesme Thu 20-Sep-12 03:18:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Downbytheocean Thu 20-Sep-12 03:44:15

With ds1 g&a didn't help at all, I had diamorphine and an epidural and was so disappointed with the g&a experience.
With ds2, a home birth, I coped with tens and then the pipe for g&a finally arrived (mw forgot it!) it was a total godsend for the last 40 mins in the pool and put me in a whole new place.
My two labours could not have been any different, ds2 was the perfect home birth. My advice would be not to let your first experience affect how you feel about your second smile and I would definitely recommend getting the maggie howell natal hypnotherapy cd if you do opt for a home birth. Watch her birth on YouTube, its amazing what you can do just with your mind!

VirtuallyHere Thu 20-Sep-12 03:49:23

I think it also varies on the person. I used over a tank of the stuff and felt it made little difference for my son's birth. The only useful bit was I found it gave you something to focus on.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Thu 20-Sep-12 03:54:44

No effect on me either, dc1 helped control my breathing though which was good. Dc2 it put me off focussing on my out breath which was helping. Maybe the pain was too intense - both were quick home births - as I got pretty high on one puff after DD was born and MW was checking for damage!

Longdistance Thu 20-Sep-12 04:14:57

I still felt pain whilst using g&a. I did get that drunk feeling, and when there was a contraction would breathe it in. I was still able to tell whay was going on. I didn't want to be completely spaced out. Having said that, my births were relatively short, 7hours and 3 hours, so not sure if that had anything to do with it.
But having a baby b2b is gonna bloody hurt more than a normal f2b birth.

notcitrus Thu 20-Sep-12 05:01:00

Works better if you take a huge huff as soon as you feel a contraction, but doesn't really work for some people. I love the stuff and wonder if my second labour might have been feasible with it without the epidural, but having read my notes I had an epidural being prepped within 15 min of arriving at hospital - but as soon as I had the g&a I felt on top of the world.

luckysocks Thu 20-Sep-12 20:56:02

Didn't work at all for me with DS or in the early stages of DD (just made me feel sick).

Then the mw taught me how to use it properly and it got me through the latter part of the first stage and transition. It's all in the timing, like notcitrus says, you need to begin at the very very first sign of a contraction, otherwise it's over before the g&a has any effect.

I felt like the part of drunk which makes you feel a bit numb, completely uninhibited and like you can do anything, which was handy, really. Problem with that was, I hadn't even reached the pushing stage but I kept thinking I'd nearly done it - I was sure at one point that the mw said she could see the head (she didn't...) - and then crashing into depression between contractions when I stopped inhaling the stuff and reality kicked back in!

luckysocks Thu 20-Sep-12 20:57:23

Strangely though, I tried to use it again after the birth, when I was having terrible after pains and being stitched up. But it just made me feel sick again. Weird.

whatsoever Thu 20-Sep-12 21:09:12

My mum said it did bugger all for her. Nothing helped other than pethidine. I'm hoping she hasn't passed that down to me!

elliejjtiny Sat 22-Sep-12 13:42:50

DS2 was back to back and I've never felt pain like it. With DS3 I was pleasantly surprised at how manageable the pain was. I found with the gas and air it helped a little bit with the pain but mostly felt like I was drunk, which was also helpful in a way as it made me feel that the pain was just an annoying interruption rather than focussing on it.

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