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Using a TENS as a natural pain relief option during labour

Birth Preparation

In the Calmbirth program we talk about many different pain relief options that are available to you during labour, one of those options is using a TENS machine.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, can be a fabulous tool to consider for your labour as a form of natural pain relief. It works via two electrodes that are stuck to your skin on your back and connected to a battery-powered machine. The machine delivers small pulses of electrical current to the body stimulating the body to produce more of its own natural painkillers, called endorphins. So it’s always better to use it earlier on in your labour because the longer it’s on the longer the body has to start producing endorphins.

Some tips for using the TENS:

Play around with it prior to labour so you & your partner/birth support person know how to use it and make sure you pack it into your hospital bag with some spare batteries if you need them

Try and use heat packs for pre labour and not put the TENS on till early first stage. This is the time when you need to give the contractions some attention and breathe through them.

Put it on in early labour and start on low so you can increase as the labour progresses.

The TENS machine works really well using the Calmbirth techniques. Remember when you have a contraction to press the TENS button but also do your breathing,
B is for Button and Breathe.

Best not to use prior to 37 weeks – as there is no evidence or studies to show it’s safe prior to this.

As you can’t use the TENS in water, you can alternate the TENS with using the shower and water as a pain relief option, so once you have had enough of the shower and water, make sure you are dry and have the sticky pads ready to put back on ready for that next contraction.

You can hire them or buy them from your local pharmacy.

Did you use a TENS for your labour?


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