Find out how a TENS machine works and if this drug-free labour pain management tool could be an option for you.
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It is a handheld, battery operated machine that passes small electrical currents across the skin, via four small electrodes that attach to your lower back. The best part? It can be used in the comfort of your own home.
If you're interested in non-pharmaceutical comfort in labour, TENS can be a terrific, low-risk option for you and your birth.
Mama and I TENS is a Melbourne-based TENS machine hire service which posts devices to pregant women all across Australia. They currently have an end-of-financial year sale running for the month of June, with hire prices starting from $69.00 plus postage.
When you hire a TENS device with Mama and I TENS, you can choose from the following Elle TENS obstetric machines:
Mama and I TENS offers a long 8-week hire period to allow plenty of time for your baby's arrival. They suggest you hire your TENS from 36 weeks gestation, and send it back 4 weeks post birth. If you would like to hire your TENS earlier, then you can certainly choose this option too.
How do I hire a TENS machine? You can hire your TENS via the Mama and I TENS website, as far in advance as you like! They can also offer express postage for any last minute bookings.
When should I start using the TENS? The TENS works most effectively if you use it at the very onset of your labour, in order for your body to release natural, feel-good substances known as endorphins.
Will I be able to use other types of pain relief? You will still be able to use heat packs, massage, gas or pethidine/morphine whilst using your device. TENS are not designed to be immersed in water so you will need to remove your electrodes in the bath or shower, however you can always reapply the electrodes after. If you opt for an epidural, you will no longer require your TENS.
Are TENS machines safe for Mum and Baby? TENS does not have any side effects to you or your baby. TENS is a natural form of labour pain relief, recommended and encouraged to be used by Australian hospitals, Obstetricians and Midwives.
Will private health insurance cover my hire? Depending on your provider, and your level of cover, you may be eligible for a full rebate for your TENS purchase or hire.
What are Mums saying about TENS during labour?
"As a midwife I knew I needed to try the TENS! The TENS got me through a completely drug free birth for my first baby! Without it, I wouldn’t have got through 2 days of pre labour! Life saver" - Sophie
"This machine didn't leave my back throughout my whole early labour and was the only pain management I had. It honestly really helped me physically and mentally through every contraction" - Alicia
Have you used TENS? What did you find that you loved about it?