Our cookies

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website.
You can allow or reject non essential cookies or manage them individually.

Reject allAllow all

More options  •  Cookie policy

Our cookies

Allow all

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website. You can allow all or manage them individually.

You can find out more on our cookie page at any time.

EssentialThese cookies are needed for essential functions such as logging in and making payments. Standard cookies can’t be switched off and they don’t store any of your information.
AnalyticsThese cookies help us collect information such as how many people are using our site or which pages are popular to help us improve customer experience. Switching off these cookies will reduce our ability to gather information to improve the experience.
FunctionalThese cookies are related to features that make your experience better. They enable basic functions such as social media sharing. Switching off these cookies will mean that areas of our website can’t work properly.

Save preferences

Gas and air

Entonox, more commonly known as 'gas and air', is a mixture of 50% oxygen and 50% nitrous oxide gas. It can help reduce pain during labour and make it more bearable. 

Many women use Entonox to relieve pain symptoms during labour. It is an odourless gas, which you self-administer as and when you need it.

You control the amount of Entonox you use, but to get the best effect it is important to get the timing right. You should start breathing Entonox as soon as you feel a contraction coming on, so you will get the full effect when the pain is at its worst.

You should not use it between contractions or for long periods as this can make you feel dizzy and tingly. In some hospitals, other drugs may be given in addition to Entonox to make it more effective, but these may make you sleepier.

The side effects of Entonox that is used correctly and during labour are minimal and wear off quickly. These side effects may include dizziness, feeling high (euphoria), and causing a feeling of sickness (nausea) but the effects go away quickly when you stop using it.

With greater awareness about air pollution and our need to look after the environment, some maternity units are introducing new technology (cracking) that break down into oxygen and nitrogen any Entonox gas that escapes into the air.

Benefits of gas and air include:

  • You breathe Entonox through a mask or mouthpiece.
  • It is simple and quick to take effect, and wears off in minutes.
  • It does not harm your baby and it gives you extra oxygen, which may be good for you and your baby.
  • It will not take the pain away completely, but it may help.
  • You can use it at any time during labour.