Labour Pain Relief Options: Gas

Gas (Entonox), commonly referred to as laughing gas or gas and air.

Pain is part of the labour process, but there are many options for pain management. Everybody has different pain tolerances and different desires for their birth so it is entirely your decision whether you would like to have any medical pain relief or not. Here, we discuss Entonox for labour in New Zealand.


What is Entonox gas?

A mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen which is inhaled through a handheld mouthpiece.


How does it work?

It’s best used during each contraction.

When you feel a contraction coming on, take slow, deep breaths in and out of the mouthpiece until the contraction has finished.

You should take a break from the gas in between contractions.


Side effects

  • Some birthing people find it makes them feel lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous.
  • It has no known side effects on your baby.


Benefits of Entonox gas

  • Can be used at any time during labour.
  • Works almost immediately about one minute).
  • Can be set up quickly.
  • Easy to control and is self-directed.
  • If you do feel unwell when using it, the effects usually wear off quickly.


Disadvantages to Entonox gas

  • May not be effective enough for some birthing people.
  • Some birthing people do not like how it makes them feel.



Home, birthing unit and hospital.