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12 Top Tips to get the most out of your TENS machine

  1. When you receive your TENS machine, try it out. Read through the instructions, check the contents and apply the sticky electrode pads to your forearm (or your partners) and make sure everything is working as it should.
  2. Make sure you and your Birth Partner understand how the TENS works. The last thing you need is your partner reading through instructions while you need his/her help.
  3. Ensure your Birth Partner knows where to place the electrodes on your back. Place two of the pads on either side of your spine, with the tops of the pads at about bra-strap level. Place the other two lower down, at about the level of the dimples on your lower back, just above your bottom. As you get closer to your due date, you may like to use a marker to place 4 large crosses on your back. Then when the time comes, your Birth Partner will know exactly where to place the electrodes.
  4. If you are putting the electrodes on and off your back make sure your Birth Partner understands that looking after the sticky electrodes is his/her job. Keep the clear plastic sheets safe and reapply the sticky pads back onto the sheets between uses.
  5. As soon you are realise you are in labour, apply the TENS machine. If you begin to use it early in labour it increases natural endorphin production prior to the strong contractions. Endorphins are our body's natural painkillers.
  6. When you switch the TENS on, start with the controls at the lowest setting. Turn them up gradually as your contractions get stronger. Remember it will take a while for you to get used to the buzzing sensation.
  7. Use the boost button at the peak of each contraction. The boost function results in more intense, wave-like tingling or buzzing sensations. At the height of the contraction is when you will need its full effect.
  8. Remember to turn off the boost button again when the contraction has ended. This is so you feel the benefit of the boost next time you have a contraction.
  9. Moving around during labour will help you feel more in control and can enhance the effect of TENS
  10. Don't give up straight away if you think TENS isn't doing anything. You may need to keep using it for at least an hour before it starts to work for you.
  11. If the pads start to lose their stickiness, rub a few drops of water into the gel side of the pads before putting them back on. The more firmly the pads are stuck on, the better they'll work.
  12. As your labour progresses and the contractions become more intense the TENS may not be able to block all of the pain, however TENS can be safely used in conjunction with any other pain relief medication or method (other than water). If you need to, bring in your other methods of pain relief such as massage, breathing techniques, hypnosis and reflexology.

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