Whether you are aiming for a hospital or home birth, TENS machines can act as a great form of pain relief whilst you are in the early stages of your dilation process.
How is a TENS machine used?
TENS machines are small boxes with four wires and electrode pads, through these pads small electronic pulses are sent to activate your body’s natural pain relief reactions. Here is how to use one:
- Attach two of the pads under the line where your bra strap would usually lie and two just above your pants line. Prior to attaching these pads you must apply pre tens preparation gel.
- You can then either attach the clip on your tens machine to a convenient place on your clothing or hold the machine in your hand.
- When you feel a contraction, push the pulse button to send an electronic pulse that will stimulate your body’s natural pain relief reactors.
- Use the dial to adjust the level of the electronic pulses in accordance with how strong your contractions are.
How do TENS machines work?
There are two main theories about how they work:
- One theory is that the electrical pulses prevent pain signals from reaching your brain.
- The second theory is that the electrical pulses stimulate endorphins. Endorphins are feel good hormones that can combat pain naturally.
TENS machines will also allow you to have complete control over your pain relief. Achieving a sense of control during childbirth can help you feel more confident, which is a great pain management technique in itself.
When can I begin using my TENS machine?
They can be used at any time during your labour. Unlike forms of pain relief such as birthing pools and epidurals, they will not disturb the dilation process and midwives will recommend that you use them prior to 6cm’s. They can be used at hospital or at home, so no matter where you opt to birth you can be confident that the use of a TENS machine is allowed.
If you are choosing a hospital birth it is important that you rent or buy one prior to being admitted to hospital. Many hospitals will not provide a TENS machine upon your arrival as most 脈衝治療器 women are not admitted until they have reached the more established stages of labour where they are able to use other forms of pain relief. That does not mean that you can’t use one throughout your labour, it just means that you should ensure you can provide one for yourself.
What are the advantages of using one?
- They can be used at any point during your labour. They won’t disturb the dilation process unlike birth pools and epidurals, two forms of pain relief that midwives are reluctant to grant prior to 6cms due to the early administration of them increasing the chance of having an assisted birth.
- They can be used in hospital or at home. So if you change your birth plan at the last moment, you won’t have wasted time by buying or renting one.
- You have complete control. Unlike an epidural you have control over when one is used, how long it lasts and there are no lasting side effects. If you do not like it, you don’t have to wait for it to wear off before choosing another form of pain relief.
- They are easy to use. So long as you are given the go ahead to use one after discussing your birth plan with your midwife, you do not need a medical professional around to implement the use of a TENS machine.
- They are portable and none invasive, which is great for women that want to walk around and experience an active labour.