The Daily Telegraph
No laughing matter as eco gadget used to ease birth pain
A BRITISH mother has become the first person in the UK to use climate-friendly pain relief when giving birth.
Entonox, better known as gas and air, a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, has been used to provide pain relief during labour for more than a century.
But nitrous oxide is the third most troublesome greenhouse gas, behind carbon dioxide and methane.
Although produced at low levels, it is almost 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide and, therefore, has a significant impact on climate change.
Also known as laughing gas, it is used as an anaesthetic but is also inhaled for recreational purposes so has earned the nickname “hippy crack”.
After exhalation, the gas remains intact and seeps into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.
The company Medclair built its Mobile Destruction Unit (MDU) to address the problem. It administers the gas and then uses a catalyst and high temperatures to break down the residue into oxygen and nitrogen, which are not greenhouse gases and in their solitary forms constitute 21 and 78 per cent, respectively, of the atmosphere.
Kaja Gersinka became the first to use an MDU when she gave birth to a daughter weighing 6lb 6oz on September 9 at Newcastle Birthing Centre.
Afterwards, she said: “I started on the traditional machine and then swapped. It’s nice to make a little bit of history.”
The MDU also reduces hospital staff ’s exposure to nitrous oxide.