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Is a TENS worth it?

(91 Posts)
PoultryInMotion Mon 23-Jan-12 19:51:46

I'm considering hiring a TENS machine for my labour and wondered if people could share their experiences of it? This is my second (and last) child. In my labour with DD, all my pain was felt very low down near my pubic bone, no pain anywhere else, which is making me wonder, if I was to have the same experience again would it actually work for me, or is it better for people who feel labour in their back?

I had no pain relief at home last time and didn't particularly enjoy it grin and just wondered if this would help? Also with it being my second, does anyone know if they work on afterpains?

JugglingWithSnowballs Thu 26-Jan-12 15:47:46

I'm a bit lentil weavery by nature and personally preferred my water pool, and a bit of massage. Like some nice smells and music too !
When it gets tough I'm not averse to a bit of gas and air !
Had both my two using a combo of the above.
Had a TENS for earlyish stages of labour in hospital with dd (DC1) but then got in pool and no use there anyway.
I wasn't deeply impressed by it's benefits but it may have helped a bit, and labour certainly did go well, especially for my first, so who knows, maybe worth a try ! But I didn't bother getting one for DS (DC2) Second labour with DS was faster and shorter ... same cute baby at the end of it though smile
Good luck !

Steala Thu 26-Jan-12 15:49:34

I used mine with my third. I had had epidurals with my first two. The third time, I gave birth with TENS alone, not even a paracetamol. However, my third was smaller than the other two and not back-to-back like the other two, so I can't attribute the change just to TENS. But, when I arrived at hospital (20 minutes before I actually gave birth), the mid-wife was not convinced I was even in active labour!

I was fed up of pressing the boost button towards the end and I realised I was turning it off during contractions and on when they stopped. So maybe it didn't work at all but I liked having something to play with and some semblance of control. I'd give it a try and if you need to move on to something else or it starts irritating you, do so.

Snowbeetle Thu 26-Jan-12 15:53:00

Yes it is definitely worth it.

The point is not that it gives sensations in the back - therefore only any good for people who feel pain in the back -

but in fact, it it stimulating the nerves with electric impulse, therefore loading the nerve pathways with a non-pain message which effectively blocks any pain messages going up the nerve - therefore it works on pain located from where it is placed on the back and downwards i.e including the pelvis!


kittycartier Thu 26-Jan-12 15:58:39

At the time I remember thinking that I wanted to shove it up someone's arse when they asked if it was working! It had absolutely no effect whatsoever on my contractions which were mostly in my back.

I know that it has worked for some though! Best to have it to hand in case it could be your saviour!

All the best!

MrsBradleyCooper Thu 26-Jan-12 16:06:35

For me, I couldn't have got through labour without mine.

It was probably psychological, but being able to press the "boost" button at the height of a contraction helped me stay at home for the majority of the time (got to the hospital 2 hours before ds was born).

Once I got there however and the contractions started getting very strong, it was really starting to piss me off so I instructed DH to "get it off me now" and switched to gas and air.

I do think that if I hadn't had the feeling of control from the TENS in the early stages that I would have been banging down the hospital door asking for an epidural.....

matana Thu 26-Jan-12 16:08:40

Yes. They're fab. I was 6cm dilated before i needed G&A and the pain was 'manageable' until then with just a TENS.

Canella Thu 26-Jan-12 16:17:42

Another yes yes & definitely yes here. I was induced with all 3 dc & used it on low in the early stages before I was transferred to the delivery suite.
I hired one from Boots - it had a boost button that was great for when the contractions really got going. It was dh's job to press it to boost when he could see/hear the contraction coming. Kept him busy!
Good luck!

MrsBradleyCooper Thu 26-Jan-12 16:20:12

I was the same matana - only TENS until approx 6cm, then gas and air. I did go from 5-10cm in about 15 minutes though....

I hired mine from Mama Tens - they were really good - you could keep it for about 6 weeks I think, and even when I sent it back late after being overdue, they were really nice about it.

kiki22 Thu 26-Jan-12 16:30:28

I've hired one from boots not gone into labour yet but have used it for back ache and painfull BH so far i honestly can say even if i didn't use it in labour it's worth it's money already.

lunaticow Thu 26-Jan-12 18:12:28

I seem to be the exception then. The buzzing sensation really irritated me after a while and I had to take it off.

Ireneisback Thu 26-Jan-12 18:18:35

I had one with both my DCs, I think they're really good. Totally worth hiring one as they're really cheap to hire so if you don't use it it's not that big a deal. I had to wait for 3 hours in the Triage waiting room before going to the labour suite so that was the only pain management I had until I pleaded for some paracetamol after 2 1/2 hours.

MrsBradleyCooper Thu 26-Jan-12 18:22:37

Does paracetamol actually do anything when you're in labour? It doesn't even work on a headache for me.....

SoundOfHerWings Thu 26-Jan-12 18:30:19

Yes! I got to transition with mine, until I ripped it off as I suddenly found it intensely annoying and directed a tirade of fury at the stupid machine. :-) In hindsight the tens was amazing, the annoyance was transition, and I was pushing 10 minutes later.

JugglingWithSnowballs Thu 26-Jan-12 18:31:43

Oh, and regarding after pains, yes they were noticeably worse after second (DC2) but not unbearable (nothing compared to labour in my experience)
Think they were like bad period pain that I've been very fortunate to only experience on a few occasions (but some people get all the time ?) Anyway, like with a contraction they are fairly soon over.

Xmasbaby11 Thu 26-Jan-12 19:16:44

it's like being electrocuted, so a reasonable distraction, but that was about it for me.

COCKadoodledooo Thu 26-Jan-12 19:54:18

I didn't like it. The buzzing set my teeth on edge and when I got a bit sweaty that bastarding pads didn't stay put properly and the electrode-y bits (dead technical me) kept sliding down and giving me electric shocks in my arse.

fretfree Thu 26-Jan-12 19:54:38

I've bought one for my labour (also intend to do hypnobirthing). A couple of you have mentioned that you should make sure you try it out beforehand. However, I am sure I have read somewhere that it can trigger contractions - is this right??? How did you try it out (weeks gone, for how long, where exactly)??


JugglingWithSnowballs Thu 26-Jan-12 20:05:39

Hypnobirthing actually sounds quite good to me. I definitely feel I went into a different place in my head during my two labours, and had two very good, natural births with no complications or tearing ( I know, lucky sod ! )

DC1 in water pool ( used TENS in early labour, lots of massage too from DH also in pool ! ) No other pain relief.
DC2 no water pool available, didn't bother with TENS, on bed but uprightish and leaning on DH, some gas and air in final stages.

Good luck to all x

rhibutterfly Thu 26-Jan-12 20:07:20


JugglingWithSnowballs Thu 26-Jan-12 20:08:01

Oh and I did stay at home in bath with DC2 in early labour, partly as hospital had no pool for us. Only just got to hospital before stage 2 !

Parsnippercy Thu 26-Jan-12 20:19:11

I really liked it, and was frightened to take it off even in later stages in case it was having more of an effect than I realised! It didn't lessen then pain, only give you something else to focus on, and I never managed to crank it up that high - I thought I was going to fry myself if I did! Will be ordering another one for DC#2!

lacroixsweetie Thu 26-Jan-12 20:59:20

Husband "trialled" one at our NCT class. The preggers side of the room weren't allowed near it in case our waters broke presumably. Clearly the pads were a bit elderly as my husband likened it to tickling his arm, but then ran off and bought one when I was in labour just in case. He then put it all together, stuck the pads on my back, ramped it up to max (on grounds of perceived effectuality) and pressed the on button. I think it is fair to say that I shot half way across the kitchen in shock, and he nearly lost his testicles. Didn't make it past the first level for the rest of the evening and then got in the bath making it redundant. A couple of friends have done a drug free delivery using one and sworn by it. All I'll say, is start on the lowest setting :-)

R2PeePoo Thu 26-Jan-12 21:57:43

fretfree the booklet that came with my TENs machine (Boots I think possibly), recomended trying it out from week 37. I think it said for less than an hour just to get used to the sensation and the controls so you would be more prepared in labour.

I used it week 38 for about 15 minutes I think. I didn't go into labour until 41 weeks. I set it up as I would do in labour and just relaxed on the bed. I didn't want to be learning to use it whilst in pain and distracted and I wanted to prepare myself for the sensation.

this says its safe

I wouldn't use it in the first or second trimester personally.

Its worth getting a roll of hypoallergenic tape from Boots (for bandages etc) as after wearing the TENs for a long time the pads started to come off and I had to send DH for the tape to stick them back on again. Removing the tape was the most painful part of the whole labour (hypnobirth).

kefybaby Thu 26-Jan-12 22:02:33

I also hired one and it worked a treat! I felt in control, it helped a lot with the pain and it was a good distraction. I managed to get to 8cm just using the TENS machine and then took it off to use the pool (which for me was far more uncomfortable in comparison in the end...).

catclarks Thu 26-Jan-12 23:04:22

My advice would be, if you do get one make sure your other half knows how to use it! During the birth of DD1, DH took charge of the TENS and immediately turned it to max. A few choice words were thrown his way!!

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