New mums unaware of a suspension of gas and air at Ipswich Hospital have described feeling 'panicked' and 'left in the dark'.

The use of nitrous oxide was suspended with immediate effect at the hospital by the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust on Tuesday, December 6.

This came after testing the levels of nitrous oxide in their maternity services following concerns about high levels at Basildon Hospital.

But for some mums arriving in the days after the decision, they said they only found out about the suspension when they had already been induced.

Alana Price, 32, was induced the day after the suspension came into place and was only notified that she couldn't have gas and air after they'd broken her waters.

Ipswich Star: Alana Price, 32, with her baby Cody James.Alana Price, 32, with her baby Cody James. (Image: Alana Price)

"I was scared," she said.

"I had gas and air with my first so worried what it would be like without."

Mrs Price wishes the hospital had given a notice period to women booked in for inductions so she might have had the choice to move. 

"They didn't even tell me until I asked for it," she added.

Kirsty Old, 33, was induced the next day and said she was only aware of the suspension as a result of a social media post from this newspaper.

Ipswich Star: Kirsty Old, 33, with her baby Hallie.Kirsty Old, 33, with her baby Hallie. (Image: Kirsty Old)

Mrs Old was hoping to deliver her third baby without pain relief, but 15 hours after her induction found she was only 3cm dilated.

"My only options were pethidine and an epidural," she said.

"I'd had a bad reaction pethidine with my first baby, so I had to have an epidural in the end.

"I really didn't want it but I had no other choice."

Another Ipswich mother who discovered she couldn't have gas and air from a newspaper article was Emma Djan, 38, who delivered in the early hours of Sunday, December 18.

Ipswich Star: Emma Djan, 38, with her husband, King Djan, and baby Kingston.Emma Djan, 38, with her husband, King Djan, and baby Kingston. (Image: Emma Djan)

Mrs Djan said she felt like she was kept in the dark and was constantly checking the Ipswich Hospital website for updates.

"I feel bad for first-time mums," she said.

"It's really not what you want for your first baby and the hospital should have kept us to date."

First-time mother Sophie Horne, 30, said she immediately went into panic when her waters broke on Friday, December 30.

Ipswich Star: Sophie Horne's baby Freya Marie.Sophie Horne's baby Freya Marie. (Image: Sophie Horne)

Mrs Horne thought she would be in the clear with a due date at the end of January, but began to panic when she went into labour early.

"I asked for pain relief, but was told I was way past that point," she said.

"I pushed her out naturally, feeling every bit of excruciating pain."

Mrs Horne did say, however, that the aftercare she received was "amazing," adding: "It's taught me to see the female body in a different light.

"Even when every option is taken from you and you feel completely out of control, our bodies can just do what it's supposed to do."

Evie Smith, 28, also praised the ward staff for the support they offered her after she delivered on Boxing Day.

Ipswich Star: Evie Smith, 28, with her baby Zara Anne.Evie Smith, 28, with her baby Zara Anne. (Image: Evie Smith)

Mrs Smith said her two midwives, Molly and Josephine, were "incredible" in supporting her throughout her labour.

"Pethidine made me violently sick and I couldn't have an epidural as I'm a dance teacher," she said.

"I was exhausted, but the midwives kept me calm and helped both me and my husband feel at ease."

Both West Suffolk Hospital and Colchester Hospital have experienced a minimal increase in the number of pregnant women asking to be treated there.

One such case was Alaina Caira, 31, who had all her care at Ipswich and even had a sweep at 39 weeks and wasn't told of the nitrous oxide suspension.

Ipswich Star: Alaina Cara with two of her children, including baby Elliott.Alaina Cara with two of her children, including baby Elliott. (Image: Alaina Caira)

Miss Caira again discovered this fact through an article from this newspaper and was told it was too late in her pregnancy to transfer hospitals.

"I ended up presenting at Colchester Hospital 8cm dilated and having my baby there," she said.

"Overall, he is a happy, healthy Christmas bundle of joy. 

"I understand why the hospital is doing it, but they should be making mums aware."

The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust said they have plans to reintroduce gas and air in the next couple of weeks, after the arrival of ventilation units which were found to be unsuitable for Ipswich Hospital's maternity wards in mid-December.

All of the mothers quoted in this article have reported that their babies are in good health.