Advanced search

Why is entonox not available in the US and some European countries?

(41 Posts)
BumgrapesofWrath Sun 16-Dec-12 01:16:35

Just curious really!

I'm due to have DC2 within the next few weeks, and I'll be relying on gas and air I'm sure! So I just wondered why it isn't available in other countries (I only know this from reading threads on here).

monsterchild Sun 16-Dec-12 01:29:40

Not sure why it's not available in the US labor wards, I've heard it's a combination of concerns over prolonged exposure for workers and just plain custom.

ProtegeMoi Sun 16-Dec-12 02:12:24

Births in the US tend to be more medical with a high number of women opting for epidurals, it seems to be the culture.

MyLastDuchess Sun 16-Dec-12 02:33:27

Here in NL the prevailing culture is for no pain relief at all. Only 10% of births are with an epidural. We also don't have over-the-counter medications for colds and flu. I guess it's the Calvinist thing!
I had DC2 in hospital here 2 weeks ago with just a stress ball for pain relief!

OpheliasWeepingWillow Sun 16-Dec-12 04:06:00

I suspect because it's cheap and US hospitals profit driven

vvviola Sun 16-Dec-12 04:18:07

I was told that in Belgium where I had DC2, that is was not used as there had been a study done that showed increased miscarriage among midwives in units that used it (although I can't confirm this is the truth, this was 3rd hand. All my doc said was that he was campaigning for its use). There was also a rumour that the anaesthesiologists were against it as it would reduce their fees... Not sure what the truth was.

The pethidine injection was also not available as there had been a miscalculation of dosages previously which led to serious consequences so it was banned.

The options were epidural or nothing.

Screamer Sun 16-Dec-12 09:53:16

The option in Belgium is epidural or nothing. When we asked a couple of years ago (pre-DS1 birth) if gas and air was available we were told it is just a placebo so they don't offer it. I guess it is a placebo in a way as it doesn't relieve pain but rather takes your mind off the pain.....

honeytea Sun 16-Dec-12 16:44:42

Some areas in Sweden have no gas and air option because they say it doesn't do any good anyway. They also think it is bad for the enviroment and can be damaging to the staff at the hospital and the mother.

The area where I live does let you have gas and air but not at the pushing stage I think they want you to be as on the ball as possible. If you do have an epidural they also try to time it so it runs out when you are pushing.

This is some Swedish news in English about it

jinglebellyalltheway Sun 16-Dec-12 16:50:11

It may be a placebo, but a very good one as it makes you focus on your breathing, so sort of like yoga or hypnobirthing

But I've also heard that pregnant operating theatre staff should avoid all anaesthetic gasses so maybe it's an occupational health issue??

it may be profit driven too as when I went private (for non birth op) they were very keen for me to have more doses of pain relief medicine than I really needed as they charge though the nose for each dose, there might be a good profit in epidurals and sod all in G&A

inadreamworld Sun 16-Dec-12 18:48:53

Don't know but G&A didn't do anything for me - does it work for anyone?

iwillsleepagainsomeday Sun 16-Dec-12 18:51:48

in ITaly it's epidural or nothing. Translated in most cases as....nothing.

mrscogon34thstreet Sun 16-Dec-12 20:48:21

inadreamworld worked amazingly for me - although only once the midwife showed me how to use it properly, its all I used even with syntocin from halfway through and eventual ventouse! Still can't quite believe I managed!

inadreamworld Sun 16-Dec-12 22:00:20

mrscogon I had the syntocinon (or however you spell it!) drip as well - and definitely needed epidural!! You are good at dealing with pain. Obviously I am strange and G&A works for many people.

Nitronox Mon 17-Dec-12 13:39:47

Entonox is 50/50 Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide combination - in a premixed form - in one gas cylinder. This is not FDA approved in the US. It is not over safety concerns of using nitrous oxide and oxygen. It has been shown at varying temperatures that the premixed gas can separate in the cylinder - resulting in potential higher percentages of Nitrous Oxide being administered - and no way to regulate or control it.

Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen (N20 and 02) for pain management, is used everyday in the US in dental offices and many hospitals (in areas like Emergency Departments). The reason it has not been used more widely for Labor and Delivery is that a special "device" is needed for this application. This device "blends" Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide (at a 50/50 ratio) - and is administered by the patient through a special demand valve that they control themselves. Our company is about to re-launch such a device and you will start seeing nitrous oxide and oxygen used more often in hospitals and birth centers in the US. This is going to start happening in January!

Regarding some of the previous posts:
Workplace safety - yes this is a concern - but is dealt with by always making sure the device is connected to a "Vacuum" source to scavenge (remove)away the exhaled gas - out of the building. This virtually eliminates any exposure risks. Some other countries do not have guidlines for scavenging - which is where you see issues with workplace safety. Chronic exposure to many things is often not good - so N20 is no different than many other drugs and chemicals used in the healthcare environment.

Patient Safety - Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen has been proven (over 100 years of use) to be safe for patients. As with any medication - there are some health conditions that you would not want to use nitrous oxide with. Your medical professional would be able to advise you on this.

Environmental Issues - Yes N20 is a greenhouse gas - and is used widely for medical applications (often used by anesthesiologists). That said - medical use of N20 accounts for about 1% of greenhouse gas exposure. The majority of exposure is created by farming and agriculture related industries.

N20/02 and Epidurals - N20 and 02 are used for pain management. It will not eliminate pain - but it will help you cope with pain (which is why some will say - "it didn't work". It will not replace epidurals - and if the expectations are not realistic - it will be a negative experience by the patient. There are a few hospitals in the US that use N20/02 for labor and delivery. In most cases women that use N20/02 in the US - about 50% convert to epidurals. It is a good option compared to not having anything at all!

Benefit of using N20/02 - it is a good option for pain management - and it is patient self administered. The patient administers the N20/02 when they need it. N20/02 is a mild analgesic - and allows the patient to be conscious and in the labor and delivery setting - participate in the birth of their baby. N20/02 is very short acting (minutes) - which will allow the mother to get up and move around during her labor - and after delivery. Epidurals will potentially last for hours - confining the mother to her bed.

Again - N20/02 is not a replacement of other options - it is just a good addition - and in the labor and delivery area - an option that doesn't currently exist here in the US.

I'm not familiar with all of the rules for the forum - but if allowed I can post some links to videos and other websites.


inadreamworld Mon 17-Dec-12 23:13:26

Interesting that G&A is soon to be used in the US. I live in the UK - will be giving the gas another try with next labour but likely will have an epidural again! Also when you breathe too much g&A it males you feel sick. Or maybe that was just me. My husband says he wants some gas next time though! smile

Crmmum Tue 18-Dec-12 00:41:21

I loved gas and air... I was high as a kite, telling OH the name of every child who was in my class in primary one and asking the standard taxi driver questions to the midwives! I think it makes you feel like you have regained some kind of sense of control once the initial high wears off. Gives you something to focus on? I couldn't imagine having given birth without it. I think it helped with the pain, as it lightened my mood.

Restrainedrabbit Tue 18-Dec-12 00:51:05

I had three homebirths and used G&A every time, was definitely a pain killer for me smile couldn't imagine giving birth without it!

WhatWouldSantaDo Tue 18-Dec-12 02:02:23

Mike, thank you, that was very informative. I am currently in a non Gas and Air using country, and if I get pregnant again, I'd go back to the UK to give birth! Had G&A with my first (homebirth) labour, and it worked a treat. Loved it!

inadreamworld Tue 18-Dec-12 13:20:57

Why doesn't it work on me sad

rogersmellyonthetelly Tue 18-Dec-12 20:06:59

Worked brilliantly for me up to about 5cms both times then I had an epidural. Basically I stoked myself up doing lots of deep quick breaths as soon as I felt a contraction and was away floating with the fairies for the worst of the pain.
With my first it took me a while to get the hang of it, and I found that taking normal breaths on it was no bloody use at all to me.

Gas and air worked brilliantly for me, I've had three babies and used it each time. I get totally wrecked and I didn't really feel much in the way of contractions. I love it. The midwife tried to take it off me at the pushing stage but soon gave it back. I think the trick is to never let it leave your mouth or something. Every breath I took was g&a. Ds4 is due in 6 weeks and I am most looking forward to getting off my face again!

But my friend used it and if made her throw up.

I'm not sure why it suits some people more than others.

For my first labour it was not very effective and I've always been half convinced the canister was not turned on properly. For my second labour it was amazing at helping me cope with the pain, I ended up reducing the amount I was using it as it was getting me too high but it was great stuff.
Mike, that is fantastic news in regards to the states, I've always thought it was mad that the pain relieving options were epidural or nothing for childbirth over here!

honeytea Wed 19-Dec-12 05:51:25

I gave birth last night and the gas and air was bloody amazing! I also had a mobile epidural and topped up with the gas and air but the gas seemed to do more than the epidural, my mum thinks maybe they gave me a false epidural as I really didn't feel any difference.

CheerfulYank Wed 19-Dec-12 05:58:34

I don't know! We get it at the dentist...

I do have to say my epidural was the bee's knees, however.

BumgrapesofWrath Wed 19-Dec-12 09:26:55

I'm glad I asked the question now - very interesting thread!

Personally, I couldn't have done without it in labour with my first. I was fine with a Tens machine until 8cm dilated, then had a terrible urge to push. The midwife suggested gas and air (after I'd refused it earlier) to help, and it really relaxed me and I could stop pushing.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now