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Experiences with TENS Machines?

(11 Posts)
SourSweets Mon 15-Apr-13 10:48:57

Hi ladies,

I'm trying to work out my birth plan, and one thing I am sure about is that I want to stay at home for as long as I can rather than go to the hospital and either be sent home, or be bored and waiting around with nothing to do between contractions. I'm wondering if you have any experiences of using a TENS machine for the period before gas and air is available to you? Does is dull the pain enough that you won't be able to accurately tell when you're ready to go to the hospital based on your pain level, or do the timings of the contractions alone tell you that? Is it worth the money or did it not really do anything?

Thank you!

SourSweets Mon 15-Apr-13 10:50:12

And also, how does it actually work and what does it do?!

StyleManual Mon 15-Apr-13 10:58:48

Everyone seems to have different options about TENS, but I loved mine! I put it on almost stratight away when I realised contractions had started. I stayed at home for 12 hours just using that. I was 6 cm when I got to the hospital. It must have worked because the midwife had tried to pursuade me to stay at home because I could talk through contractions. She was surprised that I was so far along.

I used it with G&A until I was fully dilated once I was at the hosital. Then after that it was in the pool, so obviously had to take it off. plus it wasn't really useful by then.

I think it works by disrupting the pain signals. It doesn't take the pain away entirely but kind of confuses you I think. Not too sure of the science. And apparently it builds up endorphines in the body, which is a natural painkiller. That's why you have to put it on at the start of labour, as the endorphines build up gradually.

My labour was painful, but perfectly manageable. I definitely recommend giving it a try, as you can just take it off if you don't like the sensation.

TickledYonion Mon 15-Apr-13 11:00:19

I used one and thought it was great, however I didn't use it until the contractions got really strong and the gas and air stopped being enough.
It feels like a very strong tingling pins and needles and you use it in waves like the contractions. If you try to use it when you aren't contracting it's just annoying and painful. If you build it up as the contraction builds it can be really helpful.

StyleManual Mon 15-Apr-13 11:03:09

Oh, and I just decided to go to the hospital because I was starting to feel like I couldn't cope at home. Thinking back the TENS obviously doesn't magically take away the pain, but it was a bit of a lucky feather.

It's not what you asked, but the thing I found most useful was taking the Lazy Daisy birthing class. It's a class that teaches you strategies for labour and is all about active birth. I used the breathing and rotating techniques, which along with the TENS machines made me feel like I could manage it.

wellieboots Mon 15-Apr-13 11:09:51

I had DD with just a TENS, it was awesome. I swear by it and will be getting one next time.

Similar to another poster, I sounded too calm on the phone and they told me 3 hours before she was born that didn't need to come in for ages. End result was me making it to hospital fully dilated with 10 minutes to spare. I don't recommend sailing that close to the wind, but it must have helpedwink

SourSweets Mon 15-Apr-13 11:18:48

Wow, ok, well that all sounds pretty positive! Thank you for sharing. So it sounds like you can keep using it even while in hospital? I'm also hoping for a water birth and would like to be as drug free and active as possible. Will definitely look into the Lazy Daisy classes, thank you for the tip!

milktraylady Mon 15-Apr-13 11:19:55

I liked using Tens too.
I found it took the edge off the contractions, made my back feel "buzzy" which did lower the pain level.
I also found when it wasn't giving the same effect anymore the contractions were closer together & phoned the labour ward, 1 hr later time to go in.

All in all, a really good tool/technique.

And at the end of the day, if you don't like it/ does nothing for you, just take it off, no harm done!

Good luck!grin

Dillydollydaydream Mon 15-Apr-13 11:24:02

I used tens at home before going to hospital when in labour with dd and ds1. With dd I won't to hospital when the pain was becoming too much and I was 8cm when I was examined, with ds1 I only just made it into the hospital building from the car park an he was born in an A&E cubicle.
I'd definitely recommend using one but I know they're not everyone's cup of tea.

BlueChampagne Mon 15-Apr-13 15:48:44

Definitely worth a try. You can hire them, buy new or try ebay. Make sure you get one with a 'boost' button for contractions. I laboured at home with DS1 then took it off for a water birth at hospital. DS2 came in a hurry and all I had was the TENS machine; he was delivered by me in the bathroom!

tumbletumble Mon 15-Apr-13 16:35:18

With DC1 I used a TENS at home for about 5 hours before going into hospital. I think it helped a bit, perhaps mentally (to distract me and make me feel like I was doing something proactive to help) as well as physically. After I got to hospital, I found that gas and air was much more effective for me so I stopped using the TENS. I didn't bother getting one for DC2 or DC3.

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