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Tens machines

(30 Posts)
boredbuthappy Mon 14-Feb-11 18:05:50

I'm sure this question has been asked before, but do tens machines really work? I've just hired one because I want to try any and all pain relief available to me while in labour at home. My sister claims they do nothing. Others say they take the edge off. Has anyone had an experience of a significant effect on pain?

JarethTheGoblinKing Mon 14-Feb-11 18:07:53

I LOVED mine, it made a big difference to me and made it through labour with just gas and air otherwise - not sure i'd have done that without the tens machine.

Some people just don't like them though, or they don't work on everybody.

If you do get one, ask the MW to check the positioning of the pads, and make sure you have spare batteries and your other half knows how to change them quickly

ooosabeauta Mon 14-Feb-11 18:11:10

Yes, for about 10 minutes of a very fast induction it was brilliant! A really 'distracting feeling' is all I can describe it as, but excellent on me. Probably depends on what type of labour you have as to whether it's useful to you or not, but worth a go I think.

Wigeon Mon 14-Feb-11 18:56:11

Yes yes yes. Think I couldn't have coped without mine. And I didn't only use it in early labour - I used it the whole way through.

Search on here and IME you will find about 50% of posters say it was annoying and they took it off, and the other 50% say it was brilliant and they couldn't have done without it. So given that it might really help you, and it has no negative effects on the baby or the progress of your labour, I think it's well worth giving it a go, without expecting it to be some kind of wonder cure for the pain (it wasn't).

StrangewaysHereICome Mon 14-Feb-11 20:08:18

I loved mine, but bear in mind it can take up to an hour of use for the endorphins to take effect. In my first labour I got cross with it thinking it wasn't working, pulled it off then shouted at DH to stick it back on quick wink. It did really help me and I used it the whole way through. Make sure your partner reads the instructions though - so he can help if you feel a bit overwhelmed.

LEMONADEGIRL Mon 14-Feb-11 20:31:22

Loved mine too and couldn't have done without it either

Used it through the whole labour apart from during one contraction near the end and forgot to press the button and by god did I feel a difference grin

I know that some people do not recommend them but it is worth giving it a go

hastingsmum Mon 14-Feb-11 20:55:54

I've used TENS in all my three labours and think it works brilliantly up to the point when you have to push, then it's just annoying.

But now I have to say that water works better and distracts you even better than TENS.

redandyellowandpinkandgreen Mon 14-Feb-11 21:42:29

I thought it worked, it felt nice and warm anyway but there was a point when the trailing wires started to annoy me. Didn't work as well as the epidural though!

boredbuthappy Mon 14-Feb-11 21:54:58

Thanks for the input! I have hired one to give it a go, I hope I'll be in the 50% that find it useful!

cookingfat Tue 15-Feb-11 05:41:16

Laboured at home with tens and found it worked - this may have been psychological, but don't care as thought it was doing sth at the time. Took it off in hospital, not sure how dilated I was, but baby was born 2hrs after arrival, so pretty far gone, I imagine. The wires started to annoy me so mw removed it, and the gas &air was definitely effective!

Karoleann Tue 15-Feb-11 07:31:15

I used a tens with both of mine up to 8cm/9cm, it was great. Gas and air just makes me sick. I then had an epidural with both.

Pancakeflipper Tue 15-Feb-11 07:51:44

Not sure what my giving birth experiences would have been without it, dunno if they'd been more painful but I used one up until the pushing part of labour.

I found it worked better the earlier you use it in labour.

Don't care if it was psychological/comfort/fact that you focus on something etc.... for me it really helped.

I didn't have any other pain relief ( tried Gas and Air but I couldn't breathe right for that).

Wholelottalove Tue 15-Feb-11 11:51:46

Yes, used tens at HB 9 weeks ago. As I felt contractions in my back, it was absolutely brilliant for me. It sort of competed with the cx and took my mind off them.

Make sure you get one where you can boost it up as the contraction peaks. I used a birth pool early on, but got out of the pool due to cx stopping. The tens lasted me right up to transition once I got back out of the pool. I think they are brilliant as a tool in your list of coping strategies if that makes sense. Mine went breathing, tens, pool, gas and air (and if necessary transfer in for epidural). By the time I got back in the pool and onto the gas and air I was pushing and I'm really glad the tens lasted me up to that point as I really felt the benefit of having the gas and air.

Wholelottalove Tue 15-Feb-11 11:53:16

Oh yes, I did a cx after getting out of the pool the first time without the tens and was scrabbling to get it back on!

RobynLou Tue 15-Feb-11 11:55:44

loved the tens - had 10lb3oz DD with just the tens, she was back to back and it REALLY worked. I whacked it up really strong quite early, was worried I'd put it too high too early, but the labour was only 4 hours in the end so it was fine. felt like a really good strong massage, DH is hopeless at massage so it was great for me!

plasticspoon Tue 15-Feb-11 12:46:23

I couldn't have managed my latent phase without mine. As well as some pain relief It focuses you on something other than the pain and gives you something to do (I did a lot of fiddling about with the dials!). For me it allowed me to delay the point at which I needed to move onto something stronger.

Gmakes3 Tue 15-Feb-11 13:08:14

Invaluable in my case. Got to 7cm at home first time and 9cm with baby number 2. Couldn't stand it when I had gas n air though, just about ripped it off. Def helped me cope with pain. Good luck

NickiAndAlex Tue 15-Feb-11 13:26:44

I used one last time, but I'm not really sure how much it helped! I can't say for sure that it took any pain away, but I had a relatively easy first stage and I don't know how much of that was because of the tens.

It was a distraction, like the gas and air - something to do when I had a contraction which took my mind off it a bit.

But towards the end, I took it off because the leads were getting on my nerves, and didn't really notice much difference.

Having said that, I'm hiring one this time too, just in case it helps!

boredbuthappy Tue 15-Feb-11 14:36:43

Similar to Wholelottalove, I've got a coping strategy of which the tens machine will hopefully a usefull part. For me, breathing initially, hanging out in the bath, then Tens, (paracetamols in there somewhere as well), then gas n air, and then epidural if it comes to that. Last midwife visit (I'm 36+4) I was told baby is in posterior postion with head down, so am a bit scared the labour will be really bad if baby doesn't change position. I've bought a birthing ball to use at home from now until d-day with the hopes that it I might be able get baby to move into a more favourable posiiton!

RobynLou Thu 17-Feb-11 09:21:06

boredbuthappy don't panic about posterior position - DD2 was back to back all the way out, and appeared in 4 hours from first contraction to birth, she was 10lb3oz and I only needed the tens. I was terrified of a back to back labour with a big baby, but it was absolutely fine.

babynelly2010 Thu 17-Feb-11 14:42:51

yes!!!! just had a natural birth with 3rd stage in water that lasted 40 hours from the first contraction. Poped TENS on an in the early labor and it made magic until I got into water. The longer I had it on the better it got.

babynelly2010 Thu 17-Feb-11 14:43:12

oops sorry, I meant to say 2nd stage

boredbuthappy Fri 18-Feb-11 10:44:35

RobynLou you give me hope!

I'll be sure to get the tens on early then. Were there any weird side effects from using thetens for so long? Numbness or anything like that in places you wouldn't expect?

babynelly2010 Fri 18-Feb-11 13:02:12

I had my tense on for about 32 hours, no side effects besides when I got in the pool I had occasional tickles in my back that felt like current.

donnakebabnew Mon 27-Jun-11 06:21:18

Mine was great i got 2 8cm with the tens machine. i hired one from www.babytens.net.

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