If you’re prepping for your baby’s arrival and the thought of contractions worries you, fear no more! This non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical way to control and relieve pain is a God send. A TENS machine, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine, has been becoming increasingly popular over the last few years with regards to pregnancy and labour. While introduced in the 1970's, it’s typically been used for comfort in physical and occupational therapy patients to reduce and manage chronic pain.
This portable device is quite simple to use, and you can start it right at the beginning of your labour. The machine is connected by wires to electrodes that you stick to your back, while controlling the machine with a handheld device. The TENS machine then sends electrical nerve stimulation that reduces your awareness of the pain and produces endorphins to handle the pain better. The machine doesn’t completely take away the pain, but it makes you more comfortable.
To use, simply apply the pads to the key areas on your back, one on each side of your spine, middle back, lower back, or upper back; wherever you feel the most pain. Turn the machine on and set it to the lowest setting. As your contractions get stronger, turn up the power.
This machine is not only easy to use, but it doesn’t limit your movement, doesn’t have harmful effects to the baby or mum, and the user is in complete control. As always, it’s important to take into consideration some of the reasons that TENS would not be a good fit for your situation. If you want to do a birth pool, you will be unable to use this device. You cannot place the pads on any broken skin or healing scar. If you have a pacemaker or heart problems, this machine may put you at risk. Talk to you doctor to see if a TENS machine is right for you!