Hospitals suspend use of air and gas pain relievers used by expectant mothers in labor due to midwives’ fears about exposure to dangerous levels of nitrous oxide
- Hospitals have tried to temporarily ban the use of laughing gas after safety fears.
- A pregnant mother said it was ‘stress you don’t need’ while giving birth
It has been claimed that mothers giving birth are ‘paying the price’ as various NHS trusts discontinued gas and air for pain relief.
Hospitals have tried to temporarily halt the use of laughing gas due to concerns that medical staff are being exposed to harmful levels in the workplace.
The combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen has been measured as 50 times higher than set limits in some NHS units, according to sunday times.
But the suspensions have also been labeled “insanity” with the popular option of pain relief potentially out of reach for some.
Pregnant Amy Fantis is due to have her baby at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex, which reportedly stopped using the gas last month.
Mothers giving birth are ‘paying the price’ as various NHS trusts cut gas and air for pain relief
While the hospital has ordered machines that can break down the gas into harmless components, it only has three on hand.
Amy told the publication this was “stress you don’t need” as she was dependent on pain relief during childbirth four years ago.
She said: ‘It’s not available to everyone and you may not get it. My birth could only be 40 minutes. It’s a stress you don’t need. I get that they have to keep midwives safe, but just taking it off seems crazy. It is the poor mothers who are paying the price.
High levels of nitrous oxide were also previously detected in several trusts, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn, and Watford General Hospital, it was said.
Basildon University Hospital in Essex was reportedly among the hospitals that temporarily suspended use of the gas, but have since reinstated it.
Ipswich Hospital also temporarily suspended pain relief last year, but reinstated it after new ventilation units were installed.
The chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives told the publication that “poor ventilation in delivery rooms” was “just the tip of the iceberg” on the issue of fit-for-purpose maternity units.
A spokesperson for NHS England told MailOnline: “NHS England have been working with Trusts where gas and air supplies have been affected due to different, localized problems – this is not a widespread problem and patients should continue to access services normally.
MailOnline has reached out to hospitals for comment.