A combination of factors contribute to the potential benefits of using a TENS machine during labour. Women find that the use of a TENS unit helps them to feel in control of labour, be less anxious and offers a distraction from contractions.
Many women prefer or choose to use TENS during labour because it is a drug-free alternative and allows them to be present during their child’s birth.
Medical professionals and experts have advocated several advantages of using TENS, including:
- It is safe for you and your baby
- You don’t need an anaesthesiologist, doctor or midwife to use it
- You can keep moving while using
- It’s portable and non-invasive
- You control it
- Unlike drugs, there are no side-effects
- It can be used during a home birth or at home before going to hospital
- It’s easy to use
Drug-free methods of controlling labour pain are an important choice for many women because local anaesthetics, opioids or other analgesics can cross the placenta, affecting the newborn.
By placing small sticky pads on the back, TENS units stimulate the nerves, which in turn reduce the pain signals going to your brain. The theory is that the electrical stimulations increase the production of endorphins to provide the body with natural painkillers.
Notably, TENS doesn’t have a ‘wearing-off’ period like intravenous drugs and can be stopped at any time.
Unlike pain medication or epidural, TENS can be used at any point, or stopped, at any point throughout labour.
One of the most notable benefits of TENS during labour is that it provides a welcome distraction and gives the mother something else to think about.
On a forum, one mum posted:
I used it for my second labour and loved it. At the hospital I found it great as it really helped me focus through each contraction and made them far more manageable. I felt 100% in control the whole labour and will definitely use it with my next.