They gave me one when i went in with DD. It worked early on for me. I even managed to have a nap. I doubt it would have worked with my first labour - but that was completely a different kettle of fish.
I think it was part distraction and also being able to actually do something mildly useful.
Got me to 7cm, didn't want to take it off to get in the pool. Get it on early - if you think you might possibly be in labour put it on - the easier it's on the greater the effectiveness. Get one with a boost button and have lots of spare pads and batteries
I quite liked mine. I had a rather speedy labour, and it was my first time, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. The TENS machine gave me something I could control. It also had a counter on it for counting the length of the contractions. I found that really helpful, if only because I knew they'd only last a minute, so I could see the end of each one as I was getting through the worst of it.
That said; mine broke, so by the end only two pads were attached to the machine. That was a bit shoddy, but I didn't notice it so much so clearly not the end of the world.
Just make sure you've read the booklet before hand and know how to put them on and which buttons to press and you'll be set.
Mine got me to 8cm and then the bloody thing just irritated me and I got OH to rip the thing off. I can't say it helped with the pain in the later stages but it distracted me enough as I had to keep pushing the boost button.
Make sure it works before you go into labour!! I made sure I had spare pads, batteries etc but when it came to early labour we couldn't get the bloody thing to work! Really disappointed because I think it would have helped me cope with the early stage a lot better. I did buy mine second hand (£10) from a friend, so my own fault for not testing it!
I couldn't have managed without the pain relief without that (and later on the birth pool) I almost did t get into the pool as I didn't want to give it up. Make sure you buy a roll of elastoplast! Initially the patches kept falling off as I was sweaty, my husband saved me by sticking them on with the elastoplast.
It definitely worked for me. I hired a mamtens from llyods for £6. Well worth it. Used it from first contractions until I got into the pool. You can slowly build up the intensity and 'boost' when you have a contraction. The boost just changes the frequency and not the intensity. Only downside is you can't use with water. I would definately give it a go though as so safe.