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‘I kept begging for pain relief’: the women forced to give birth without gas and air

Some hospitals are suspending supplies of gas and air, after it was found to pose health risks to midwives. What can be done to ensure pregnant women still get the help they need?

When Leigh Milner was expecting her first baby, she knew exactly how she wanted her labour to go. Her birth plan included an epidural for the pain and she was hoping, she says ruefully, for “all the drugs”. But that is not how things worked out. Milner, 33, a BBC presenter, ended up giving birth to Theo at Princess Alexandra hospital in Harlow last month with nothing but paracetamol for pain relief, in what she calls a positively “Victorian” experience.

“I kept begging over and over again – ‘I need something for pain relief’ – and the only thing they could give me was paracetamol because they didn’t have gas and air. I was quite frightened, I didn’t know what else to do,” says Milner.

"Birth is painful, but it shouldn’t be traumatic.”

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Source: The Guardian, 16 March 2023


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