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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?

AC786 Tue 04-Dec-12 22:10:47

I hired mine from boots and felt that it was really helpful, particularly at home! I would go for it!!!

donnakebabnew Fri 30-Nov-12 13:46:42

Hired my from Babytens i would definately recommend them. I used mine right up to the pushing stage and would not have got though with out it.

rosebery Fri 27-Jan-12 15:08:13

Just googled the use of tens and cfm at same time. To be fair, it does seem that the jury is out on whether tens affects cfm. If it does, then the effect is probably negligible. Perhaps this explains why different hospitals have different policies on it??

rosebery Fri 27-Jan-12 14:57:20

Hi teladi. Seeing as lookout could also use tens, it does seem that someone didn't know what they were talking about in your case!

None if the mw's batted an eyelid when I said I wanted to use it - they even put it on for me, and then put the cfm in place.

Feel very annoyed for you.

lookout Fri 27-Jan-12 14:46:54

Teladi I had CFM too and used a TENS. Your hospital are naughty naughty. It does not interfere at all except that the wires get muddled up sometimes. I feel sad and angry for you!

Teladi Fri 27-Jan-12 13:48:24

rosebery - not sure if you will come back to this thread or not now, but I got told the TENS would interfere with the foetal monitoring equipment. I feel a bit hard done by now.

Doozie Fri 27-Jan-12 11:56:48

Yes, definitely worth having one on hand. I also rented one from Boots. I know some women don't find them at all helpful but it is all I used for DC2. I would say it just about took the edge off and pyschologically I think it had a bit of a placebo affect. Although I didn't get to use it a full pelt as I was pacing myself. I had no idea how long I had to go as the lovely but ineffectual MW wouldn't check my cervix. By the time DH finally tracked down a mw who would it was time to jump in the birthing pool and push baby out. Now a water birth that is something I would highly recommend. Good luck with the birth.

Hardgoing Fri 27-Jan-12 11:54:17

I managed to get to 9cm at home (without the midwife noticing I actually was in labour) and it was utterly crap. It didn't make any difference to the pain and it tingled in a way that I found really unpleasant.

It's great that it worked for so many people, though, and on that basis, I would hire one, practice with it and see if it works for you, I simply don't think you can know til the time comes.

Snowbeetle Fri 27-Jan-12 11:46:16

just to mention - if you do use it have a look at instructions before you go into labour. DH was looking at instructions and fitting it to my back for me while I was in labour - was hilarious - gave us something to laugh at which was interesting when contraction came... HahahahaaaheeeheheheeUUNNNNGHHHhhh......

Kaekae Fri 27-Jan-12 11:37:59

I hired one for the birth of my first child. I didn't get on with it at all, it just made me more irritated, just felt like another pain to deal with. I didn't bother getting one second time round. They are quite cheap to hire out or buy from ebay. I guess it is worth trying as I know friends who thought theirs were a great help.

lookout Fri 27-Jan-12 11:09:51

Used one my second labour. I would recommend it but tbh more as a distraction than actual relief from any pain. My labour was super quick though, so it might work better on a longer labour with slower first stage. I appreciated having control over something, even if it was only the pathetic push of a button! It also served as a useful sign to dh that a contraction had started smile. All the best!

alana39 Fri 27-Jan-12 10:36:21

Yes, used them for all 3 to varying degrees. Also fantastic for back pain when no pregnant. But do get one with controls that can't be easily knocked as I accidentally turned it up to the max at one point and thought I was going to die!

ebbandflow Fri 27-Jan-12 10:34:33

Yes-I would say so, I used mine for induction. I got to water's breaking and 5cms dilated before using other form of pain relief.

Franchini Fri 27-Jan-12 10:26:35

YES, YES, YES! I had one and got to 9cm at home (1st baby). Managed on TENS alone until had to have a spinal (14hrs) due to baby being stuck. Definately worth it and really does help to block the pain. Also learn good breathing and you will be fine!

Kayzr Fri 27-Jan-12 10:26:33

I used a TENS for both labours and it was brilliant. I'd certainly recommend them to everyone.

matana Fri 27-Jan-12 10:25:16

My sister used one and said she wasn't sure it was working for her - until one of the electrodes came off and she had a contraction: "DH - put that fucking TENS back on me NOW!" was her reaction.

Re. paracetamol... hmmmm, i can see why they say take it but tbh the latent phase is the only time it MIGHT be effective and at that stage it's really not painful enough to warrant downing tablets - it's more mild discomfort that comes and goes without much of a problem. A warm bath or hot water bottle and a brew does just as well.

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!!

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...).

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).

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 :-)

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!

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 !

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


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

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)??


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