Mother in labour first to use greener gas and air

A new mother has become the first person in the UK to use climate-friendly pain relief while giving birth.

Entonox, better known as gas and air, is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen and has been used to provide pain relief during labour for more than a century.

But nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, almost 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and escapes into the atmosphere after being exhaled.

Kaja Gersinska and her daughter Rosie Martha O’Sullivan at the Birthing Centre in Newcastle (Handout/PA)
Kaja Gersinska and her daughter Rosie Martha O’Sullivan at the Birthing Centre in Newcastle (Handout/PA)

Now, Kaja Gersinka has used a new device, known as a Mobile Destruction Unit (MDU), which “cracks” exhaled nitrous oxide into harmless nitrogen and oxygen.

She used the MDU while giving birth to Rosie Martha O’Sullivan, weighing 6llb 6oz, at the Newcastle Birthing Centre on September 9.

Afterwards, Ms Gersinka said: “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.”

As well as being greener, the technology – which was developed by Medclair – benefits staff by reducing the amount of nitrous oxide they are exposed to while they work.

Chris Allen, Sustainable Anaesthesia Fellow at Newcastle Hospitals, said: “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, who was delivered by midwife Lindsay Craney, is Ms Gersinka and Craig O’Sullivan’s second child. They already have a two-year-old daughter, Cassie.