Search icon

Labour + birth

18th Sep 2021

Woman becomes first to use greener gas and air during child birth

Ellen Fitzpatrick

It benefits more than just the planet.

A mother in the UK has become the first person there to use environmentally friendly pain relief while giving birth.

The new mother tried out a new method of pain relief as she went into labour, making her the first woman to do so in the UK.

Typically, women are given Entonox, which is a mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen for pain relief while giving birth and it has been used for more than 100 years.

As nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas and is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, it travels into the atmosphere after being exhaled.

Using a new device known as a Mobile Destruction Unit (MDU), it cracks the nitrous oxide as it’s exhaled and breaks it back down to harmless nitrogen and oxygen.

Kaja Gersinska is the first person in the UK to use the device as she gave birth to her daughter Rosie Martha O’Sullivan at the Newcastle Birthing Centre last week.

Kaja said: “I feel very privileged and proud actually – it’s the little things you don’t often think about and it’s nice that someone thought about making these changes which will be better for the environment and for midwives who are working here all the time.

“I didn’t expect this when I came here today — I just came to have my baby — but I started on the traditional machine and then swapped over. It was quieter and much more comfortable to hold — it’s nice to make a little bit of history.”

This new technology also reduces the amount of nitrous oxide staff are exposed to while at work, benefitting more than just the planet.

Chris Allen, Sustainable Anaesthesia Fellow at Newcastle Hospitals, added: “Rolling this technology out across our maternity unit can help us to continue to support women to use gas and air during labour, whilst making it as environmentally friendly as possible.”

Rosie is Kaja and her partner Craig O’Sullivan’s second child, already having a two-year-old daughter together called Cassie.