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TENS - worth it?

(26 Posts)
littleElif Mon 08-Nov-10 11:38:13


I am thinking about getting a TENS machine. Just wondered if others here found it helpful. Or is it just a waste of money?


maktaitai Mon 08-Nov-10 11:42:50


Sorry, not much help eh! I got a long way with TENS. When I started labour I saw it as an endless huge road stretched out in front of me, and that I woudl have to try and cover it with a few tiny rugs of pain relief. I was therefore terrified to 'move on' to any new kind of pain relief in case I 'ran out' of cover. TENS i was not afraid to start, because I know that the earlier you start it the better - I had a leak of waters and started it within an hour, well before any pain began. Was quite fun and by the time I got into a birth pool (in which you can't wear a TENS, funnily enough!) I hadn't even got to the top level. It doesn't take pain away but it blurs it in an odd way, which makes it easier to handle. Useful for me.

Don't let your dh hold the controls out of some misguided wish to involve him. Childbirth TENS have 2 modes - a contraction mode and a non-contraction mode, and you switch between the two. You don't want to have to formulate verba requests, polite or otherwise, about switches when you are starting on a contraction.

maktaitai Mon 08-Nov-10 11:43:59

PS when I got into the pool and took the TENS off, I was about an hour away from the birth - was very lucky.

sheeplikessleep Mon 08-Nov-10 11:44:32

yes yes yes

littleweed10 Mon 08-Nov-10 12:55:21

found it very helpful. If you hire one via NCT or boots, they aren't too much money. (and if it dulls a bit of pain all the better!!)

fotheringhay Mon 08-Nov-10 13:44:27

I also found mine helpful. Hired it from the local midwives and they didn't even charge me!

littleElif Mon 08-Nov-10 13:55:12

thanks - guess I will check out a hire TENS from boots later today

familyfun Mon 08-Nov-10 13:55:43

i hired a mamatens from mothercare last time and used it all the way through dds birth, i have hired another one for dc2 due in 2 weeks.

Indaba Mon 08-Nov-10 14:01:15

Mine was really useful.....spent 20 minutes trying to work the damn thing....then half an hour shouting at my husband asking why he couldn't work it, then 2 minutes trying to wrap wires round his neck......didn't think of labour pains at all during that time grin

Know other mates who swear by it!

Good luck!

GingerGlitterGoddess Mon 08-Nov-10 14:08:14

I got to 10cm with tens and a bathtub!!! Good luck

GingerGlitterGoddess Mon 08-Nov-10 14:08:29

(not at the same time, obviously)

tiokiko Mon 08-Nov-10 21:15:50

Yes, I found my TENS brilliant, had long slow labour for days and used it more or less from the first contraction right until DD was born.

I didn't think it was doing anything other than giving me something to do, until the MW knocked it off me in triage and I just about fell off the bed. Amazing - it was making a huge difference, but because I had just gradually just moved up the levels I hadn't realised.

I bought the Elle TENS machine from Amazon I think and then sold it afterwards on eBay for only about £10 less than I paid, so it worked out cheaper than hiring.

It's probably worth buying an extra set of the self-adhesive electrodes in case you need to use it for a while or are going to have lots of baths. They do last a long time but don't stay as sticky and I found it a bit annoying when they weren't stuck on tight.

fromheretomaternity Mon 08-Nov-10 21:47:39

YES - hired mine from Boots online - fantastic.

littleElif Tue 09-Nov-10 09:14:46


I now got a TENS machine just wondered - did you put it on as soon as your labour started or did you wait until labour became sort of painful? also, do you start at 1 and work you way up???


Montifer Tue 09-Nov-10 11:08:35

I found TENS really helpful during labour with DS.

I think the recommedation is to put it on as soon as you are experiencing regular contractions so it gives the endorphins a chance to build up.

I was a bit of a TENS sceptic, but found it really helpful, got all the way through 1st stage with 2 paracetomol and TENS, then suddenly found the tingling sensation unpleasant so took it off, turned out I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push!

I would recommend reading the instruction booklet before labour starts ideally rather than following the DVD as we did through the early contractions grin

Good luck, hope it helps

Rosebud05 Tue 09-Nov-10 11:12:31

TENS great for first part of labour, partly because fiddling about with the controls give you something else to think about.

Would recommend giving it a trial run before you're actually in labour.

LittleElif, with both labours I put it on when I knew that it was definitely starting and, yes, started at 1, I think.

As pp, with both of mine, it suddenly felt uncomfortable and painful and I was pretty much dilated both times.

Good luck.

notanumber Tue 09-Nov-10 12:33:37

Have to go against the tide here and say that I found it a)useless in terms of pain relief and b)an enormous irritant.

In my second labour an entusiastic student midwife offered me one and I screamed, "You can fuck right off with that useless crap No, thanks, I don't find it particularly helpful".

Just goes to show that it's a very personal thing. Give it a whirl I suppose, you won't have lost anything if it turns out not be any good for you.

tiokiko Tue 09-Nov-10 20:12:28

I put it on right at the start of very slow labour, was still using it 4 days later when DD arrived.

You just start at 1 and work your way up, depending on the model you have you should also have a boost button which you can use as soon as feel a contraction starting then 'de-boost' when it's on the way out.

Do remember to de-boost though - I kept forgetting to and then when another contraction came I had nothing left to boost!

Mine also had two channels (I think?), so you could go something like 1-9 on the first then step up to 1-9 on the second as the contractions grow.

woolymindy Tue 09-Nov-10 20:14:54

Just remembered I have to return mine to boots - DS is 10 weeks old blush

Gmakes3 Tue 09-Nov-10 21:00:00

Yes, would not have done without it.
Got to 7cm first time at home with TENS and 9cm at home with TENS 2nd time. I do think you have to have have the belief it will help, I personally believe that managing labour for want of a better word is down to keeping as calm and positive as possible. Good luck and go for it.

Gmakes3 Tue 09-Nov-10 21:02:07

Thought of something else. Once I was in hospital and had a few good gulps of gas n air, could not stand the TENS machine and ripped it off as soon as I could

SweetnessAndShite Tue 09-Nov-10 21:06:56

Loved the TENS I hired. Had one both times and used it from onset of labour until getting into the pool like maktaitai.

Also found it very very useful to ease the excrutiating after pains I had with DS2. Think I used it for about 4 days afterwards too.

(No one warns you about that beforehand but then afterwards everyone goes "Oh yes! The afterpains get worse with each baby" Yeah, thanks for that hmm)

anastasiak Tue 09-Nov-10 22:08:48

it was helpful, but don't hire it from Boots - mine stopped working midway through labour. Not helpful!

theborrower Wed 10-Nov-10 16:48:11

yes - I thought it was great! I used it at home once my contractions were starting to get painful and I felt that I needed some relief (this was about 8 hours after they started) and I wore it for a few hours and it really dulled the pain, but when I went to hospital (contractions were very frequent) they discovered baby was breech and I needed an emergency section, so I don't know how I would have coped with it once I was further along.

I'll definitely be trying it again for baby 2 if and when we have one

Make sure you try it out before you're actually in labour though so you know how it works

maninthemooncup Thu 11-Nov-10 22:57:20

I bought one from Boots as it was only about £10 more than hiring - I have lent it to three friends so far so it's sort of paid for itself! I thought it was great, very helpful. If I hadn't had OP baby I reckon I would have managed with TENS and G&A.

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