How far dilated did you get with just a TENS?

(138 Posts)
BoysBoysBoysAndMe Sun 28-Oct-12 20:34:12

Got one for ds3.

Not used one before.

Just curious how effective women have found them?

How dilated were you on getting to hospital when you've used one at home?

ShoeJunkie Sun 28-Oct-12 20:36:56

I used my TENS until I got to the birth centre - I was 6cm according to the midwife who examined me. Took it off once I got there as I was getting into the pool. I'd highly recommend it.

BumgrapesofWrath Sun 28-Oct-12 20:39:33

Got to 8cm. To be honest it would have been effective throughtout I think, but had to start the g and a at 8cm as I had the urge to push and it was to stop me. When I finally took the TENS off, after giving birth, my back was completely numb.

PS was induced so didn't have to go to hospital in labour

lovethesun1 Sun 28-Oct-12 20:41:32

I used mine until hosp,took it off when it started to get in the way of all the monitoring stuff. I was 7cm. I was really worried about peaking too soon & so didn't use it to it's full potential. Won't be making that mistake this time around smile

kefybaby Sun 28-Oct-12 20:43:12

I was 7cm when examined upon arrival. Made the mistake to take it off to get to the pool at 8-9cm. I found coping far more difficult and wished I had used it all the way.

Snusmumriken Sun 28-Oct-12 20:47:01

I used mine until I gave birth. I did not have any other pain relief. I ripped it off a few seconds before DS head came out.

Eglantyne Sun 28-Oct-12 20:47:37

No idea, as I didn't have any internal examinations, but I used it from 4am to getting in the pool at 2pm. I only had that and then the pool, nothing else. Oh and btw, I hired mine from Tescos pharmacy, went 2 weeks overdue and they didn't charge any extra!

out2lunch Sun 28-Oct-12 20:48:07

used it till fully dilated - i didn't feel a real benefit tbh

Ellefabulosa Sun 28-Oct-12 20:48:21

3 with first, 10 with second. Didn't get it on with second until about 8cm (I'm guessing). I just made it to hospital in time to deliver. I don't know if it does anything but feels like its doing a little bit and its good to have a button to press whenever you're in bad pain.

PickleSarnie Sun 28-Oct-12 22:08:30

Right until the end. Was only pain relief I had. Loved it. Can see why some people dont like them but I found the weird feeling a welcome distraction to the really bloody sore feelng of contractions.

SirBoobAlot Sun 28-Oct-12 22:11:15

9cm. Took it off then. Was the only pain relief I used in the end (palava with an epidural that didn't have time to even be hooked up) and I would recommend it to anyone.

issimma Sun 28-Oct-12 22:12:52

All the way (not through choice!)

iloveholidays Sun 28-Oct-12 22:15:16

All the way to 10cm, didn't have anything else but as others have said was trying to pace myself and luckily went from 6 to 10 very quickly. I'm not convinced it helps with the pain but fab distraction.

Probably the funniest part of the whole thing was DP taking it off after I'd given birth and we hadn't turned it off... Gave him the shock is his life... Hilarious!! smile

Not very far at all - I couldn't stand the way it made the muscles in my back twitch, and having it turned low enough so they didn't meant it did nothing at all. I was most disappointed given I'd spent bloody ages hunting down a Boots that had one I could hire.

lottiegarbanzo Sun 28-Oct-12 22:22:18

To fully dilated. Not by choice, I wanted to go to hospital a couple of hours earlier but they were being very particular about how frequent the contractions needed to be (and I went along with it, instead of saying 'actually, I am coming in now' at the point that I knew I wanted to be getting settled in with the gas and air and perhaps the pool).

Anyway, it was ok and once there I had G+A too (lovely, once it kicked in, luckily, as too late for anything else) and dd appeared 2.5 hours later (could easily have been sooner).

You don't know how effective it is unless you stop using it part way through but my feeling was it was very useful and did dull pain.

over 9, then started the G&A. That said I got all the way to 10 for my next one without TENS, so difficult to know. Every birth different I suppose. I did think it helped with the first one

flossy101 Sun 28-Oct-12 22:25:38

I got to 6 cm with tens and found it really helped.

ReallyTired Sun 28-Oct-12 22:26:15

I gave birth with nothing but TENS with dd. (homebirth second baby)

With ds (first delivery) I took it off at 6cm dialated because the stupid consultant told me to. I found that I was in absolute agony and needed an epidural. Once you take tens off you can't put it back on. You need to have it on continously from the first twinge of labour.

ilove, we did that too after I assured himit was off grin Just shows how strong the contractions are I suppose that ou can't feel it any more grin

Wolfiefan Sun 28-Oct-12 22:28:39

I got to 5-6 first time round. (DS arrived a couple of hours later.) I took it off to get in the pool.
DD had it on throughout. Had a few whiffs of gas and air but she was born too rapidly to need anything else.
I like the feeling of having something I could do when each contraction came. I found it vv useful.

messykitchen Sun 28-Oct-12 22:30:28

6-7cm then started on gas and air and it was annoying me so took it off. Then got to 10cm in about 40 mins.

Jellykat Sun 28-Oct-12 22:30:41

All the way with both labours and was all i had, but didn't use it until the last few cms (DS1 took 38 hours).
As others have said i'm not sure it 'helped' massively with the pain, but it definitely gave me something else to concentrate on which was great.

messykitchen Sun 28-Oct-12 22:33:24

They are most effective if you get it on as soon as you have first contraction. If you leave it til later I don't think it will work as well (so I was told by midwife)

designerbaby Sun 28-Oct-12 22:34:54

I had one with DD2... Didn;t think it was doing much, had gotten to 5cms...

Then I took it off to get in the pool, had a couple f comtractions without it, before I got in, and they, oh boy, did I ever realise what it WAS doing.

Water was better though. Really amazing. To the point that I thought my labour was stalled and I wasn't progressing because it didn't hurt enough. Thought that right up until DD2 crowned....


I was dead sceptical about TENS, water and all that stuff being able to actually help in any way, turns out it does, though...


aufaniae Sun 28-Oct-12 22:45:43

I can't say if it really helped or not.

I was induced and asked for an epidural but it didn't work (5 times!).

I took a lot of gas and air, and was really high from that.

I can't really remember if the tens machine worked or not! The gas and air was more effective. (But not nearly effective enough).

aufaniae Sun 28-Oct-12 22:46:17

I think I thought it did at the time. It probably did help. But not massively.

SquidgersMummy Sun 28-Oct-12 23:41:13

7cm - stick it on EARLY - it can work wonders

Good luck xx

whatsoever Mon 29-Oct-12 08:43:04

5cm on arrival at hospital having used a TENS and paracetamol at home. Took it off to get in the pool.

In hindsight, I'd have used the bath at home & kept the TENS on longer as the pool didn't help me that much as the contractions got stronger whereas I was only up to 4 on the TENS so I think there was probably more relief to be had from it.

BedHog Mon 29-Oct-12 08:48:54

Tens alone from second contraction to about 9cm, then combined it with gas & air until DD was born. Was a shoulder dystocia birth too, so not an easy one. I found during the pushing stage that I didn't want the boost function on, but found it helpful to concentrate on the pulses, which took my mind away from the pain.

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Mon 29-Oct-12 08:49:56

Most people tend to find it quite useful then?

I'' hoping to stay as long as possible at home, but we'll have to see.

Thanks for everyone's input, quite encouraging overall. smile

georgie22 Mon 29-Oct-12 08:56:25

I used my TENS until I was 8cm dilated - that's when I got to hospital. Don't think I took it off until I'd delivered. I'm certain it helped but I didn't have any other analgesia. It was a welcome distraction as I was focused on pressing the boost button at each contraction. I don't think I used it to its full potential as I wasn't certain how far along I was until I got to hospital.

Shellwedance Mon 29-Oct-12 09:00:00

I did 4 hours of not too bad contractions till I remembered the tens. Made things much better, got to birthing centre and only 2-3cm dilated, continued with Tens and it was tough but manageable till 4 hours later when I begged to be examined and was fully dilated! So tens all the way and pushed in the pool with gas and air.

Was my first baby too so definitely recommend.

messtins Mon 29-Oct-12 13:01:51

Got to 10cm with just TENS both times, then G&A for delivery. I think it's one of the things that helps some people and not others but def worth a try. You do need to put it on at the first twinge though, it's all about modifying pain pathways and releasing endorphins, it takes time to build up. Worked better for DS1 where it took 6 hours to dilate than DS2 where it took 90 mins!

BigusBumus Mon 29-Oct-12 13:04:00

With DS2 I used it from first pains to 8cm when I got into the pool and swapped to G&A.

It worked a treat i think.

JessieEssex Mon 29-Oct-12 13:12:50

I definitely didn't put it on early enough, as I found it merely a distraction (although a very welcome one!) rather than actually relieving the pain. I think that the idea is to wear it from the first twinge and then increase the power as the contractions increase in intensity.

Having said that, I got to about 9cm with it, and then had G&A for a bit before lobbing the mouthpiece across the room and going solo!

MoonHare Mon 29-Oct-12 19:44:38

All the way with both previous births, no g&a only TENS plus techniques from JuJu Sundin's book, which are mostly about distraction. I agree with others that it's about distraction rather than actually taking pain away. If you expect to feel pain but be better able to cope with it with the help of TENS then you can't go wrong imo.

Velo Wed 31-Oct-12 16:23:46

I love the TENS. It was the only pain relief that I used. I put it on in early labour when the contractions were getting uncomfortable and took it off 6 hours later after the little one had arrived. It doesn't take the pain away but for me I think that it helped to keep it manageable. You do need to use it properly though - turning it up as the pain increases and using the booster button for the actual contractions. Good luck with your delivery xx

Until 5cm when I got in the pool, although a few minutes later I was fully dilated and pushing, so it may well have been more as either I dilated 5cm in a matter of minutes or it was mismeasured before!

Badgerina Wed 31-Oct-12 21:26:43

1st labour, I got to 7cm. 2nd labour I got to 10cm.

HorridHeffalumpsWickedWoozles Wed 31-Oct-12 21:53:17

For DD2's birth I had ARM at 3cm, half hour later contractions v painful so put on the Tens which stayed on until 8cm when I took it off before leaping into the pool. It was fantastic, I wish I'd known how fantastic as I didn't use one for DD1's birth which was a hundred times worse than DD2's.

Put it on relatively early so you have time to get used to it and gradually crank it up. The boost button is brilliant!

Good luck with everything smile

Liveinthepresent Wed 31-Oct-12 21:59:35

All the way - loved it - didn't need anything else.
dH gave himself quite a shock when he touched it while still switched on post delivery - think he was surprised how intense it had been. It was on maximum for some time towards the end I believe.
I feel like I couldn't have done it without it.
Get it on early is right advice.

Karoleann Wed 31-Oct-12 22:16:16

DS1 - 8cm (then got in pool - had big abruption with etc etc etc)
DS2 - 9cm then had epidural
DD - just tens machine no epidural. gas and air makes me throw up

Wigeon Thu 01-Nov-12 13:08:04

DD1 - used TENS at home, was 6cm on arrival at hospital, then used G&A and TENS.

DD2 - used TENS at home, was 10cm on arrival at hospital shock, used G&A and the TENS until she was born. She was meant to be a homebirth though, and we only went to hospital as they said that midwife shortages meant there were none available to send out to me and we had to go in.

Loved it. No need to get an expensive one - the cheap second hand Lloyds Pharmacy ones on eBay are fine.

Top tip - make sure your DH knows how to turn the dial up and make sure in advance that it's his job to do that. With both my labours, I was too much in the zone to remember, and I'm sure I could have done with turning the TENS up as the labour progressed.

All the way to fully dilated. I loved it and I was skeptical at first.

Boobz Thu 01-Nov-12 13:14:01

4cm all three times, as then I was allowed the magical G&A (3 homebirths).

Dillydollydaydream Thu 01-Nov-12 13:22:47

With dc1 I used TENS at home until the contractions were quite painful and I felt I wanted more pain relief. I was examined in arrival and I was 8cm dilated and dd arrived about 2.5hrs later after using gad and air alongside the TENS.

With dc2 I used TENS at home again but things were quite quick and ds1 was born in an A&E cubicle as his head started to crown in the carpark.

TENS worked for me but some people really don't get on with it.

JenFrankenstein Thu 01-Nov-12 13:23:05

I put it on at the start and it only came off on day 3 of labour when I was given an epidural as I was exhausted after 3 days of no sleep. DH and MW got a big shock as they tried to take it off while it was still on.

panpipe Thu 01-Nov-12 13:31:15

I put TENS on right at the start and kept it on until my one exam at 8cm (home waterbirth). I'd only been using that and Daisy Birthing breathing/movement techniques until that point then got in the pool. My DH also did the 'take it off without switching it off' thing grin. I think I could probably have used it longer as I'd only got to about half power.

sieglinde Thu 01-Nov-12 13:32:02

Useless with induced labour. It would have been as much use to be strapped to a potable typewriter.

Gas and air makes me hurl, so the TENS was alone on the job for a memorable hour of ow. Get an epidural if induced.

sieglinde Thu 01-Nov-12 13:37:47

A portable typewriter. Though a drinkable typewriter might have been more use than the TENS, which IMHO is a big old placebo.

Kveta Thu 01-Nov-12 13:42:22

4cm both times, and had it cranked right up both times too. was nearly breaking the boost button by the time I was allowed epidurals. I found it a useful distraction anyway smile

cairnterrier Thu 01-Nov-12 13:44:22

6cm with a back to back labour. would definitely try it again in the future.

espanol Thu 01-Nov-12 14:15:00

With my first labour I can't really say how effective on its own as my labour was pretty horridly full on from very early but I used it in conjunction with gas and air and I think I would have found it much harder without TENS. I ended up with an epidural though as my labour was so long and full on.

With my second I was in hospital as I was induced. The TENS got me to 5cm happily on the maternity ward/wandering around hospital and then they moved me to delivery as it started to get more intense. At this point I was offered G&A and took it as that stuff works well for me, but used TENS throughout with the G&A and really noticed the effect. I actually declined a water birth (which was in my plan) because the TENS on its own had worked so well that I was scared to remove it! I went quickly from 5cm to 10cm (1 hour?) on TENS and G&A. I like the fact with both of these that when the contractions die down then you are completely lucid again! I also enjoyed having a button to fiddle with!

One thing to bear in mind - if it doesn'y feel like it's working then reposition the pads. It took a couple of attempts from DH to get them in the right place and it then made a huge difference!

espanol Thu 01-Nov-12 14:16:34

Sieglinde - were you induced with the drip? I was induced with the pessary and my labour proceeded as if naturally and the tens worked great, but can imagine it would be more full on straight away with the drip. TENS seems to work best from the start so you can dial it up gradually so with drip this might not work so well, but gel induction it works fine.

familyfun Thu 01-Nov-12 14:24:04

used it for 2 births, one induced, worked brilliantly both times, used from quite early on when i could feel contractions, no other pain relief.

louisianablue2000 Thu 01-Nov-12 14:34:18

I've used it with all three of mine. With DS (no3) he was early so I didn't have a TENS machine and I was induced so things progressed quickly. The MW got a hospital TENS machine for me and as soon as I used it I felt the relief. It only stopped being effective in the last half hour of labour.

Agre with others, make sure it is switched off before it's taken off, with both DDs DH managed to give himself a shock.

Katienana Thu 01-Nov-12 14:43:12

I got to 9cm with mine. It was a nice distraction and helped me monitor the increase in pain levels too as I turned the machine up. Went in the pool when we got to hospital and had gas and air, couldn't get baby out though so had to get out and went pain relief free for last 30 mins or so.
He was 10lbs 9.5oz!

elliejjtiny Thu 01-Nov-12 14:50:16

I used the TENS with DS3 from 3cm to about 9. I wasn't keen on it, just felt irritating mostly but I was worried if I took it off it would hurt more. In the end I decided I wanted DH to rub my back and the TENS was getting in the way so I took it off. I had a quick labour though (2h 15m established) so maybe that was why it didn't work that well for me. I loved the pool though, best pain relief ever.

MummytoMog Thu 01-Nov-12 15:01:10

It was amazing. Could barely feel my contractions until I took it off at 5cms and then shoved it back on again. Loved it. That was my second labour though, which was a different experience to my first in many ways. I still used gas and air for transition and second stage.

chocolateteabag Thu 01-Nov-12 15:02:04

Used TENS from first twinge to 10cm and found it really helped me.
I tried a bath first, but did nothing for me, but the TENS gave me "something to do" during each contraction.

I also had gas and air, paracetamol hmm, and 2 Meptid injections (because had decided to say yes to everything bar an epidural and the hospital didn't do pethidine). However the Tens was def worth having on.

I managed to get to the last level (20 on C setting), holding down the boost button. DP then tried it when we got home and couldn't get past level 4 on the A setting. DP then said he has new respect for me grin

ScreamyShriekyFrightyWoozyWooo Thu 01-Nov-12 15:24:19

I used one in my 2nd labour and it was fantastic. I used it until I was 10cm (I assume - wasn't examined, but needed to start pushing) then I took it off to get in the pool.

I wish I hadn't bothered with the pool and just kept using the tens, because the pool did nothing for me. Gas and air did nothing for me either. In the end I had to get out and onto the bed because Ds2 wasn't coming. He had shoulder dystocia, and I had to get him out with no pain relief in the end.

I was skeptical about tens before, but it really worked for me. I wish I'd used one in my first labour.

heidipi Thu 01-Nov-12 15:32:19

Good to know that they work for most people but I found it did nothing for me, I think because I didn't have pains in my back, it was all round the front at the bottom of my bump. A bit like putting an icepack on your head when you bang your toe.

It gave me something to fiddle with for a bit but I ended up chucking it in a bag in frustration (and then searching madly for all the bits when I got home so I could send the fecking thing back intact).

heidipi the back pain is a good point. I have a back to back labour and the midwife told me the tens machine is very good for that. And she's probably right.

ScreamyShriekyFrightyWoozyWooo Thu 01-Nov-12 15:43:23

I didn't have any pain in my back Heidi, but it still worked for me!

Sossiges Thu 01-Nov-12 15:46:10

Put mine on at the 3rd contraction, it stayed on until pushing stage (which didn't seem so painful). Did take it off quite early on to try and have a bath, but changed my mind v v quickly as the contractions were much more painful without the TENS.
Lifesaver and I will be using one again for my next labour.

PotPourri Thu 01-Nov-12 16:01:53

I liked it. Gave me something to concentrate on for a while. I don't think it was very effective for pain relief though - but would still recommend for the distraction

R2PeePoo Thu 01-Nov-12 16:25:04

With my first birth I used it until two hours before DD was born. I sat on the leads and disconnected them and didn't notice for a while until I started feeling the most horrendous pain and then I don't remember much else - I was screaming too much. So 19 or 20 hours from the first couple of contractions.

With my second I still had it on when I was clutching my brand new DS so 19 hours again from the first couple of contractions.

I found it a very good distraction, useful to focus on, a good indicator to birth partners that I was having a contraction and the endorphins helped keep me calm and managing the pressure. Both DCs were back to back and the TENs provided excellent counterpressure to the back contractions. I do think you need to have it on for quite a while though to feel the effects, it is not instant pain relief.

TheCreepingLurgy Thu 01-Nov-12 16:27:29

Three home births done with TENS only, right till the end. I really noticed how much it helped when it came off accidentally.

Put them on when just wiggling, swinging your hips and walking around doesn't give enough relief anymore, and then increase the setting as the pain of the contractions increases. I remember how the highest settings during the last contractions were quite stingy, but so much better than the contractions on their own. The TENS stimulation is an irritation that is much easier to deal with than the contractions, so when you focus on that it takes the edge off the contractions. (The contraction pain doesn't go away, obviously).

Fakebook Thu 01-Nov-12 18:06:04

I used it for the first stage with DS. It helped because it gave me something to focus on, but it did NOTHING to get rid of the pain. If anything, the electrical impulses stung my skin and added to the pain. When contractions got harder and a little faster, I took it off as the wires started pissing me off and it wasn't doing anything to help. Won't be using it if I have my third child.

duvetfan Thu 01-Nov-12 18:23:08

I used mine from the start until about 7 cm. Used it with G and A but had to take it off as it was interfering with the machines. As soon as it was off, I asked for proper drugs (didn't turn up on time). If I have another I will definitely be using one, couldn't have coped without it. I was more than a bit sceptical but I loved it.

BartletForTeamGB Thu 01-Nov-12 18:30:46

I was completely sceptical, but it was great. Got to me to 7cm when I got in the pool. No other analgesia throughout (home birth).

LIttleMcF Thu 01-Nov-12 19:48:48

I hated the TENS machine. I gave it 20 minutes then chucked it out of the window. I relied on breathing and DH massaging me with lavender oil, and then jumping in the water pool.

nannyl Thu 01-Nov-12 20:21:45

I used mine from the early stages

i was having a homebirth, the pool was too hot so i couldnt use it. (i went from 7cm - mummy in 20mins)

i had it on level 4 and "boost" during the actual birth but had no other pain relief at all

lovelyredwine Thu 01-Nov-12 20:26:33

I thought it was great. My DH made me go to the hospital when I said I felt like I needed to push- got there and was fully dilated with dd on her way out. Unfortunately she was an undiagnosed breech and I ended up with an emcs!

It worked really well for the pain though (pity it couldn't get her to turn round).

smileychicken Thu 01-Nov-12 21:23:23

First time it didn't really help that much. Second time it was marvellous and I got to fully dilated with TENS alone. I think it can clearly be very useful especially when started early but does depend on other factors like the baby position etc. Good luck.

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Thu 01-Nov-12 21:24:34

So-should I have it on quite high then?

Is the point of it to be stronger than a contraction?

Quite a few of you have mentioned not having it on high enough.

Or will I just 'know' on the day?

stargirl1701 Thu 01-Nov-12 21:27:55

I got to 8cm with Tens.

vigglewiggle Thu 01-Nov-12 21:29:53

7cm with DD1, then 10cm with DD2.

I cranked it up quite quickly both times and I do think the distraction of fiddling with it was beneficial.

CuriosityColaKilledTheCat Thu 01-Nov-12 21:32:49

I got to ten cm with the tens machine. My best purchase to date.

CuriosityColaKilledTheCat Thu 01-Nov-12 21:34:07

Oh, you will know on the day which level feels right. Just keeping working your way up the levels as you need to. Good luck.

From beginning to end. I had it on full from a couple of hours into labour, so no fiddling about during, was too carried away by the pain that I didn't notice the TENS but they wouldn't give me an epiduralangry Turns out I was 9 cm when they finally let me come in, constant contractions, then no baby for 8 hours... The minute dd arrived I yanked it off - it felt like agony/needles stabbing in my back!

Shenanagins Thu 01-Nov-12 21:42:32

I found it great in the early stages of labour. I only used it to about 3cm dilated as baby stoped moving so ended up going to hospitall to be monitored. DS has never stopped moving since!

CaseyShraeger Thu 01-Nov-12 21:58:57

Until transition with DC2 and DC3. With DC2 that meant until arriving at hospital at nearly 10cm; with DC3 arrived at apparentky 2cm but she was born within half an hour so I count it as transition grin. Start off on the lowest setting and gradually increase as contractions become more intense - IME once I got to maximum on TENS it was time to go in and get some gas and air for the last bit.

Dovahkiin Thu 01-Nov-12 22:10:36

I gave birth 10 days ago. I slapped my TENS machine on at the first sign of labour and kept it on until the actual delivery. I only ever had it on a low setting throughout, which felt like a small rabbit kicking me quickly in the back, and I found the higher settings too powerful and thumpy. My machine had a 'boost' button for the contractions which was brilliant, and DH could push it for me when it got to the later contractions and I was tired. I was a bit sceptical so turned off my machine quickly after 7 hours of labour - and swore like a sailor. It was turned back on again bloody quickly! This was my only pain relief as there's no gas and air in South Korea, and I'm now a total convert. Good luck xxx

rubybambini Thu 01-Nov-12 22:29:51

Used one through the night from about 10pm to 5am, then at hospital until I got into a bath...and forgot to take it off. I didn't like the feeling AT ALL, it was like insects digging into my back BUT it was a good distraction, and got me to 4cm. Sitting in the bath was the best - if I ever do it again, I'll try for a water birth.

(I should point out that I also had G&A which had zero effect on pain for me, pethidine = ditto. The only thing that worked was an epidural, which I had when fully dilated, and was too tired to cope any more. I'm not sure what that all says about my pain threshold - but at least you have some context!)

thesquiz Thu 01-Nov-12 23:00:58

I loved my TENS. Used it and nothing else for all three of mine. With the first it was great, I don't know what I would have done without it; I think I had it up quite high but it's easy to play around with until it's at the level that you want. DD1 was born within 30 mins of getting to hospital so must have been quite effective! With my second and third it wasn't quite so distracting - maybe it had lost that novelty value - but still would highly recommend it.

Blue81 Thu 01-Nov-12 23:09:48

Induced labour with DS1, used it for quite a few hours before having to take it off due to monitoring.

Found it really helped in the earlier stages, a good distraction from the pain of contractions. Would have liked to have used it for longer.

piprabbit Thu 01-Nov-12 23:14:49

I loved the boost function.

With DC1 I used it until I had an epidural (I was being induced with syntocin and needed all the help I could get), so about 4 or 5cm.

With DC2 it was the only pain relief I had.

From the beginning until about 4cm with DS1. Took it off to have an epidural.

From almost the beginning until I gave birth with DS2. I put it on after finding that water was no good. It almost convinced me that I wasn't in labour because water is supposed to help and I wondered if the reason it didn't work was because I wasn't in labour so it wasn't for me and the TENS was better.

The TENS definitely helped but I am not sure on what level. It might have cut the pain but I didn't turn it off to find out. Alternatively, it might have been a good distraction - something to think about when going through a contraction. The boost button was also great for pressing like mad when the contraction was at its worse. Better than gripping DH's hand - the poor man would have a mangled hand if he was in the room which he wasn't much of the time. I turned it up when I no longer registered the fact that I had it on and was surprised how high it was by the end. I couldn't have stood it that high from the start which perhaps says something about the effect it was having.

Birdies Fri 02-Nov-12 08:24:32

I had a mama tens machine which I'm going to get again this time round. Had it on for 3 days non-stop (except for showers obv smile ). Got to 9.5cm and then no time to take it off before having my baby. Can't imagine what it would have been like without it to be honest.

Birdies Fri 02-Nov-12 08:26:39

Ps boysboys you just go with what's comfy at the time, when you try a higher number and don't like it you go back to a lower one. I didn't have mine on any of the higher settings as I found the lower ones to be strong enough for me.

milkshake3 Fri 02-Nov-12 09:22:40

I gave birth using mine! Absolutely fantastic. Put it on early (first twinge) and turn up gradually as contractions get more intense. Stay active and walk around - anything but on your back. Gives you a funny feeling in your back so distracts you from contraction. I also listened to music through headphones really loud. I found that I had a contraction each song, and that once it was over I could enjoy the rest of the song. Really helped while away the time. I also visualised waves and a nice calm sea inbetween the contractions. Really helped too.

Good luck

PS - don't wear it in the bath or shower!!

AndiMac Fri 02-Nov-12 09:55:46

I didn't have one for my first, thinking it a bit of hocus potus really. But I decided to try it out for number 2. I'm a bit of a scientist, so when I was trying it out at home to get used to it, I saw that I could stand the "tingle" up to about number 8. I then distracted myself during proper labour by comparing my experiences before and then during labour. I was quite intrigued and amused to find that my TENS went up to 30 on each stage! It certainly made a difference and between that and a bit of gas and air, I gave birth with its help.

AllyJU Fri 02-Nov-12 10:51:29

I swore by mine for DD and swore at it for DS - ending up throwing it across the floor as the sensors kept coming off and giving me electric shocks where I should be getting them!

Think it totally depends on your birth experience - I think it worked well with my DS as I was in much less of a panic

Debs75 Fri 02-Nov-12 11:08:27

All the way with DS. I had G&A as well but not much as I kept wandering around and then it made my asthma bad.
I loved it but when I tried it with DD it didnt work as good due to being induced, monitored and stuck on a bed

aliphil Fri 02-Nov-12 14:43:43

I put it on at home where it helped a bit, was only 2 cm when I got to hospital. It didn't seem to help much after that, but that might have been because I couldn't remember how to turn it up to the next level! (I had pethidine as well but that did nothing for the pain and just made me sick.) Anyway, I had the TENS on until the mw said I had to take it off so they could give me an epidural to stop me pushing because it was too soon. Once the epidural was in she examined me and found I was fully dilated (less than two hours after coming in!). So I kind of got from 2 to 10 very quickly on TENS, but like I said it wasn't doing much.

Mintyy Fri 02-Nov-12 14:49:03

Only about 3cm (and then had to have crash c-section) but it was absolutely brilliant for pain relief. Was so unbothered by pain (and I was being induced so I think that's supposed to be extra painful?) that I was playing cards with dh when crisis happened.

I would thoroughly recommend TENS.

ItsMyLastOne Fri 02-Nov-12 17:31:53

I had mine on the lowest setting for ages. I got up to the third level of the first setting (I can't remember what the levels etc are all called). I turned it off when I started pushing because it was distracting me. I also had G&A from 7-10cm.
The TENS was really helpful. I'm not sure if it was a pain relief as such but it was maybe a distraction or something to focus on during contractions. I've ordered one for this pregnancy too as I found it so helpful.

Zara1984 Fri 02-Nov-12 18:27:46

I used one this weekend for birth of DC1! It was awesome for the pains I was having due to prostin gel. But when my waters broke I suddenly got very very very bad contractions very close together. Then it did fuck all and I was screaming for an epidural.

I think maybe it's because my labour was so fast (went from 1cm dilated to delivery in about 3 hours). But for early pain/labour it really zapped the worst out of the contractions. Would totally use one again if I ever overcome the trauma of the past week and have sex again

Smellslikecatspee Fri 02-Nov-12 18:33:51

Clicked on this as I saw TENS, didn't realise it was a use in Labour one.

I use one to manage chronic back pain, was told by pain management clinic that for some people the nerves need to be 'trained' and you need to use it a few times. Don't know if that helps

Paddington Fri 02-Nov-12 18:43:08

Used until fully dilated with DS1 and 8cms with DS2. Found it very helpful and would highly recommend it. Had to have epidural (planned) with DS2 as had major back problem during pregnancy and consultant recommended this as TENS wouldn't provide me with enough pain relief in latter stages which I was happy to agree to. As it happens, the epidural failed and owing to sudden drop in DS2's heart rate I had to push him out quickly without pain relief (gas & air makes me v sick).

filetheflightoffancy Fri 02-Nov-12 20:32:37

About 2cm. I had a looooooong latent phase of labour and had to spend a whole night on my own in the antenatal ward having contractions (which I still maintain were painful even if they werent doing anything!) and I found the TENS machine did give me something to focus on.

However, when things started to get very painful (and I still wasnt really dialating, I ended up having to have an induction drip due to lack of progress after 36 hours) the TENS was pretty pointless - as evidenced by the fact that after about 2 hours of DH doing the button pressing, I realised that he was turning the boost button 'on' between contractions, and off when I was having a contraction! However, I think by this point I was quite disheartened and pissed off by the whole labour thing anyway!

But I would say go for one, as they can really help. Just go with it and see how you feel about it. It is quite a strange sensation to start with, but by the time the contractions are really kicking in it is more of a distraction than anything.

I am in awe of all the women on here who give birth with no pain relief, I had everything!

tabbyH Fri 02-Nov-12 20:47:18

I used one with dd2, right up until my waters broke and I got into a pool. It was only a 5h labour - and I used gas and air for the last hour or so. No idea about dilation as I wasn't examined! Dd2 came out before they got the chance smile

For me it felt like my back was being pummeled, which was exactly what I needed.

Good luck!

tabbyH Fri 02-Nov-12 20:54:20

Make sure you test it... I hired one and the first one didn't work!

Kelbells Fri 02-Nov-12 21:22:13

I used one two weeks ago for the birth of DS.... Used it for 10 hours alongside paracetamol and was delighted to find I was 7cm when I rocked up at the birthing unit... It was a godsend and I'll definitely be using it again next time!! grin

Kelbells Fri 02-Nov-12 21:23:37

I'd second the testing it first - take spare batteries and supposedly it's helpful to use it in advance of labour...

Kelvinator Sat 03-Nov-12 02:21:02

Ime I wouldn't bother with tens, waste of money.

I put it on as soon as contractions started which was just after my waters broke. The pads didn't last long as I was so sweaty they kept coming off (i had spare pads too and they didn't last long either, im not a very sweaty person usually either) and I got very agitated by it tbh. I ended up nearly dropping it in the toilet too which would have been very expensive as I hired it.

My contractions were pretty intense from the beginning though 3-4 mins apart from the first one and ds was born in less than 5 hours. Maybe make a decision based on your previous births?

Gas and air is all I would personally recommend to pregnant women, i had stuff like stress balls, aromatherapy, music, hypnotherapy etc and I didn't have time to even think about using any of it.

bunnygirl80 Sat 03-Nov-12 03:34:46

It did nothing for me. Not sure if I put it on too late, I didn't realise the cramping I was having was labour until I was examined at my routine appointment that just happened to be that day, and told I was 4cm dilated, and then forgot about it while we went to hospital.

I put it on once I actually started feeling contractions, but took it off after about 30 mins because it was just annoying me. Got in the bath instead, then got out when I wanted to push, so other than 30mins of failed TENS usage I had no pain relief.

cjdamoo Sat 03-Nov-12 04:03:21

3 out of 5 of my labours where totally on tens. The 5th was combined with hypnobirthing I love my little box and the distraction of here it comes push the button. The one labour tens failed me on was my induction which was a 5 day hideous affair that can still bring me out in cold sweats.

utopian99 Sat 03-Nov-12 11:24:44

I've bought one as i had amazon vouchers so was essentially 'free', and everything I've heard on this thread sounds mostly worth a try.. Do you need to practice with it first?

GinGirl Sat 03-Nov-12 16:25:41

Love, love, love mine. Done all 3 labours with it and g+a. Get it on early so the endorphins have time to build. Don't let anybody else have the controls and remember to turn it off boost when the contraction dies.

Mine got me through a back-to-back labour with DC2, midwives could not believe I wasn't have back pain and I honestly wasn't. Also my quickest labour oddly...

halloweeneyqueeney Sat 03-Nov-12 17:46:19

mine only worked when the contractions were little more than period pains

once the contractions got intense the TENS added to the discomfort, I wasn't much dialated when I took it off, it was well before I was 3 cm

Tgger Sat 03-Nov-12 22:29:28

Used mine for DD, second baby. Only pain relief I had.... Gave birth in hospital car park, so watch out, could be too effective!!!! Tbh not sure it did a lot but it was something to do... Prob best in early/ mid labour, think I vamped it up to full power pretty quick...

MrsWajs Sun 04-Nov-12 03:22:28

I didn't find it helpful at all to be honest, more of a distraction than a pain reliever but then perhaps that's the point? I didn't keep it on past 4cms but that did take me 12 hours to achieve!

Min77 Sun 04-Nov-12 08:18:05

I had the best intentions but didn't get it out of the box ... once I was in the zone I didn't want to have anything except for rescue remedy

Penny2012 Sun 04-Nov-12 10:28:36

I didn't find it helpful and wish I hadn't bothered to hire it. The whole idea grossed me out!

R2PeePoo Sun 04-Nov-12 12:26:39

Yes test it first. In the booklet that came with mine I was recommended to try it at 38 weeks +, just once.

I remember lying on my bed, completely relaxed and happy and the feeling lasted for ages. Gave me something to hold on to during labour a few weeks later!

Also if you can get some medical tape, the stuff they use to hold down the edges of big dressings (Boots sell it in the First Aid aisle) then you can use it to stick the pads down if you get sweaty and they begin to peel off. Don't forget spare batteries!

Make sure you read the manual carefully and know how to work it too. I had a few practices and also practiced grabbing it in the dark and pressing the boost button, which came in very handy as I refused to have lights on during DS's birth and built myself a little cushion nest to labour in.

frumpet Mon 05-Nov-12 17:00:56

Only used it for about ten minutes with DS2 , homebirth , moved onto G&A quite quickly , think i was about 8cms when i tried the tens , moving around alot and swearing had worked up until that point ! Personally didn't like it , perhaps if i had tried it earlier it might of been more useful . DS was back to back , not sure if that would make any difference though.

babyphat Thu 08-Nov-12 20:37:10

8 with first then G&A when arrived at hospital. Prob sane with dd2 but didn't have an internal - took it off on arrival at hospital to get in pool, dd born within 45 mins or so.

rogersmellyonthetelly Thu 08-Nov-12 22:31:25

With my first I kept it on until I was about 5cm in the hope that It might actually start working at some point, with my second, and I admit, heavily influenced by my first labour, I ripped it off and threw it after about an hour of painful contractions, as it just annoyed the hell out of me.
I tried it again six months later for hip and back pain, and it had no bloody effect on me then either. Looks like I'm just the awkward bugger with strange nerve endings (actually that's probably not far from the truth, apparently people with hypermobility are resistant to certain types of pain relief, and I'm definately an awkward bugger)
Still, for the majority of people it seems to work, so ignore me please and buzz away.

DeekeyDoo Fri 09-Nov-12 22:09:41

All the way with dc2 smile Don't know how much it helped or not but was a good distraction.

SarryB Sat 10-Nov-12 16:00:51

2cm - then I arrived at the hospital and got in the pool.

Don't know if it really helped or not. I found it quite hard to control while having such painful contractions I couldn't stand up.

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Sun 11-Nov-12 08:46:00

Thanks everyone for your replies. Have me hope that there was some use in the TENS.

I used it, alongside gas and air and got to 10cm!! Got to 4cm, just with tens.

Hideous back to back labour. Much worse than ds2 who was also back to back.

Was begging for more pain relief but I was being transferred to a different hospital so they wouldn't give me any!

Anyway, all over now. And I would try tens again so it was worth it and I did find it beneficial.

Thanks for the advice.

Welovecouscous Sun 11-Nov-12 13:44:40

Congratulations and thanks for an amazing thread op! smile

Well done!!

vigglewiggle Sun 11-Nov-12 18:01:51

Congratulations! It sounds like you did an amazing job! Full details please - name, weight, gender etc...

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Sun 11-Nov-12 19:23:47

Thanks ladies....ds3, no name yet blush, 7lb 13oz.

All worth the effort grin

vigglewiggle Sun 11-Nov-12 19:26:33


AndiMac Sun 11-Nov-12 22:09:47

Well done, congratulations!

tazmo Sun 11-Nov-12 22:15:01

I went 24 hrs. Had complications but would defo recommend!!!!

MadameJosephine Mon 12-Nov-12 14:02:57

8cm! At 8.30 this morning! Then had some gas and air and delivered DD at 10.01! Still high as a kite :-)

vigglewiggle Mon 12-Nov-12 14:05:17

Congratulations MJ. That sounds mercifully speedy!

Welovecouscous Mon 12-Nov-12 14:26:25

Well done mj!

Tens babies arriving thick and fast smile

MadameJosephine Mon 12-Nov-12 14:32:06

Thanks ladies. Feel fab, had an epidural last time, pushed for bloody ages and had a nasty tear and a pph. This time couldn't have gone better, just a teeny bit of squealing from me as the head crowned lol (well it does smart a bit!!)

vigglewiggle Mon 12-Nov-12 14:33:58

Have you picked a name?

MadameJosephine Mon 12-Nov-12 17:28:49

We've named her Jennifer, she's 6lb 13oz of sheer gorgeousness

vigglewiggle Mon 12-Nov-12 18:00:11

Lovely smile

Welovecouscous Mon 12-Nov-12 18:00:14

She sounds adorable smile

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