What is TENS?
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Many people use a TENS machine for a drug-free pain relief option for various issues. A TENS machine may also provide relief from discomfort in the early stages of labour.
How does a TENS machine work?
We suspect that the electrical pulses interfere with other signals heading to your brain (all sensations are decoded in the brain, so essentially, we “feel” pain in the brain)
It is believed that the pulses stimulate your body to release natural, feel-good substances called endorphins
The TENS machine helps you to feel in control of your labour and be less anxious
It offers a distraction from your contractions
How do I use it?
We have a TENS machine lending program, around the 37-week mark we show our mothers how to place the pads on the back and advise when to start using the TENS machine.
A TENS machine consists of a battery-powered, hand-held controller connected by fine leads to four flat pads. The pads stick to your back. The machine sends small, pulses of electrical current via the leads to the pads on your back. The pulses pass through your skin and into your muscles and tissues. This gives you a gentle tingling or buzzing sensation, which may be stronger or weaker, depending on the setting level.
The controller part of the TENS machine is easy to hold in your hand while you're in labour. But if you don't want to hold it, you can clip it to your clothing.
Unfortunately there are not many studies that are being conducted on how a TENS machine can reduce discomfort during pregnancy. However; anecdotally, Dr. Jen used one in her second labour and delivery and swears by it! “My second labour was completely different, I didn’t even feel like I was in labour thanks to the TENS machine”. Dr. Jen was able to deliver without an epidural and feels that it was because of her TENS machine.
Many of our past patients who’ve used the TENS machine have asked us the same thing, “why don’t more people know about this?”. Even nurses at the CBRM regional have said that more mothers should know about the TENS machine option because it works so nicely.
We don’t want to mislead you, giving birth is a wonderful experience and obviously everyone has a very different experience. While the TENS machine will not completely eliminate all sensation, we have gotten he feedback that it has helped with early labour and got many women to where they felt they needed to be.
Please call us at 902-270-7022 if you have any questions.