TENS machines are an alternative, natural method of pain relief, commonly used by women in labor to help them cope with the pain. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, and has been used for some time by pregnant women and midwives to treat labor pain. Some studies suggest that TENS doesn’t actually do anything to help the pain, but actually has a placebo effect on the brain. This doesn’t change the fact that many women swear by these machines and use them for every pregnancy they have! Here, we answer some of your most important questions about TENS machines, so you can decide whether using one during your labor is right for you:
How Does TENS Work?
When you go into labor, you simply apply the pads attached to the unit to your back, at the bottom. There will usually be instructions you can follow, or your midwife will help you. You can then switch the TENS machine on, where you should feel a pleasant pulsing sensation. This is thought to help your body to release endorphins, the happy hormone we all have naturally. When you have a contraction, you press the booster button to get you through it, and the machine will release an extra surge of power. When your contraction ends, you can then press the button again to turn the booster off – always make sure you do this or you could become accustomed to the feeling and it will have no effect on you next time. Some people say that the TENS unit simply
distracts you from your labour pains. Different people will feel different things with the machine, and it will work better for some than it does for others. This is simply because we are all individual, but it doesn’t hurt to try TENS and see if it works for you!
Why Should I Use TENS?
As TENS is a natural form of pain relief, it is effective in the first stages of labour. The machine is said to help you avoid medical pain relief, and will help you to stay alert and in control of the process. There are also no side effects for you or your little one!
Can I Try a TENS Unit Before The Big Day?
Of course! You simply attach the pads to your arm to feel the different sensations you’ll feel during labour. This is important because some women don’t like the sensation it gives them.
Can I Use TENS With Other Pain Relief Methods?
You can use TENS in conjunction with gas and air or pethidine.
Can I Use TENS If I’m Planning On Having a Water Birth?
Yes, although you won’t be able to take the unit in the water with you!
Can I Use TENS After I’ve Given Birth?
Yes! You can use a TENS machine for afterbirth pains, back pain, shoulder pain, and any other pain you might have after you’ve had your baby.
TENS is a totally natural method of pain relief, and is perfect for mothers who would like to avoid medical pain relief as much as they can. You and your baby will be perfectly safe, so give TENS a try!