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Tell me about Tens machine - any good?

(30 Posts)
ohnelly Sun 21-Feb-10 21:58:15

I am interested to hear any opinions/advice on Tens machines during labour. I have decidied that I want to try & manage pain without epidural. I had gas & air & pethadine during my first labour - am due again in 5 weeks!!

luggalump Mon 22-Feb-10 00:38:06

a midwife friend in our NCT group recommended the mamaTENS to me. i've had mixed reports about whether TENS is enough help late in labour, but i've just spent £20 hiring one because most friends say it does help early on and will be able to start using it at home before going in

i found a set of mama tens info vids at

good luck!

luggalump Mon 22-Feb-10 00:41:31

sorry, the link didn't work confused i'll try again...

PrettyCandles Mon 22-Feb-10 00:59:59

I used TENS during all three labours, from pretty much the moemnt when irealised that I was in labour. All my labours began with fairly strong cx fairly close together. I found it veyr helpful. Defineitely gave PR in the earlier hours. I don't know exactly how much PR it gave me further on in labour, but it helped both to focus my mind and to distract me from the pain.

I know that TENS does give PR because I have used it for backache and other pains.

I hired my matrenity tens from Boots, as it is much more powerful than my bog-standard tens.

If you find it works for you, then a useful thing to know is that once you've had it on and working for about 45mins, you continue to feel the benefit for about 30mins afterwards. This means that you can take it off and get into a bath or under a shower, before deciding whether you want to continue with tens or with water. I alternated tens and bathtub (flannel on my belly, dh slowly pouring jugs of hot water over my belly through each ctx) for several hours in my second labour.

Treeesa Mon 22-Feb-10 01:05:42

it worked for me but is bloody irritating - for my first I was in labour for 36 hours.. I think I had pressure sores from the pads afterwards..!

CarmenSanDiego Mon 22-Feb-10 01:11:31

I loved mine. The midwives practically had to fight me to get it off to get me into the tub. Recommend them very strongly! I used a Boots one with my first two labours then a ElleTENS with my third which was lovely.

ohnelly Mon 22-Feb-10 09:12:16

Thanks for replies - are there a few different types then? MamaTENS ElleTENS? or are they all basically the same? hmm Whats the difference?

PrettyCandles Mon 22-Feb-10 09:33:17

I think that they're all basically the same in what they do and how much power they put out. The differences are a matter of design and ease of use. But IME the way you practice with them when you're not in in labour can be very different to how you use them in labour. You don't yet know how mobile you may want to be, what positions you'll want to take, etc.

Essentially you set the TENS to buzz away constantly at a lowish level, then when you feel a contraction begin you press a button to boost the power up for the duration of the contraction. You control how long it stays boosted.

Whichever machine you choose, make sure you have a few good practice sessions before you need to use it. Also helpful if you practice with your OH once or twice, so that he can understand exactly where he is to place the pads. That is something you cannot do accurately on your own, though you need to work the machine yourself.

PrettyCandles Mon 22-Feb-10 09:37:21

Treesa - probably not pressuer sores, more likely sensitivity to the adhesive gel.

Oddly enough, I am terrifically sensitive to all sorts of adhesives, yet have worn TENS pads for hours and days at a time without reacting. OTOH after 4h with epidural the sticky tape they used on me left my back covered in wheals. I looked like I'd been whipped! And this despite the anaesthetist knowing about my sensitivity and using the most non-allergenic tape he could.

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 22-Feb-10 09:45:13

Yes, mine helped a lot. I hired it from a company in the back of a mother and baby magazine but I think most of the big pharmacies can hire them out to you nowadays.

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Mon 22-Feb-10 11:20:27

I found mine v helpful, especially during the earlier stages. It doesn't stop the pain by any means (esp later on) but does help take the edge off and give you some distraction, plus pressing the buttons at/after contractions can make you feel a bit more in control. Also it doesn't stop you using anything else at the same time (except water!), so you can add on other pain relief if necessary - I used gas & air as well for the later stages.

smilehomebirth Mon 22-Feb-10 12:02:48

For my first birth I found it helpful in the early stages. Later on I realised I'd forgotten all about it and had just left it permently on high for several hours!

I found that I couldn't concentrate on TENS controls, breathing technique and G&A at the same time - it was one thing too many. So I ditched the G&A. Others may have ditched the TENS!

2nd time round I hired a slightly more wizzy and expensive TENS machine - and never even got it out of the packet. Didn't want to interupt husband putting the birth pool up, and once the pool was up I was in it!

l39 Mon 22-Feb-10 13:08:30

TENS helped me. It was quite a quick labour, under 2 hours (my fourth). When I got to the delivery room I was 8cm, and started using gas and air as well which made me very woozy. The TENS didn't have side effects. I'd definitely use it again if I had another (unlikely).

Henrietta Mon 22-Feb-10 13:27:59

TEns deff worked for me, gas & air made me feel sick and meptid/petadine made me sick too tens was all I used for last 2 labours. I took it off to go into bath (which also gives same kind of relief) and had 1 contraction after which was harsh put tens back on (took couple contraction to get back up to strength)became manageable till just about pushing stage when you're right at top of 'buzz' scale. by then you dont care. you can see end in sight. Warning make sure you take spare battery.

Henrietta Mon 22-Feb-10 13:29:51

meant to say hired boots one (they also give demo) last twice. and used from home from the time had to start breathing through contractions

jeee Mon 22-Feb-10 13:31:47

I quite liked them - at least it gave me something to do at home. But by DC4 I decided I had better things to spend £30 on

sunshiney Mon 22-Feb-10 19:22:12

I loved my tens, I had to do a contraction without it my boost button and could feel a marked increase in pain. Of course it does not take the pain away, but it really zaps it and takes the edge off.

Make sure you stick the electrodes in precisely the right place, redo if it does not seem to be helping.

It helped me up until almost transition I think.

ohnelly Mon 22-Feb-10 21:05:47

Thanks all I think I will give it a try - starting to get a bit nervous about it now. Ill go into boots & see about hiring one and getting a demo smile

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Tue 23-Feb-10 08:51:11

PS I forgot my top tip, look out for ones on special offer! I got mine something like half price, that meant it was cheaper than renting, I could use it again for 2nd baby AND can sell it on again when I'm sure we don't plan any more grin

doodledrawers Tue 23-Feb-10 09:23:00

And my top tip is, when you need to take the pads off, switch the TENS machine OFF first - I didn't realise quite how much current was flowing across my back until I felt it on my fingertips!! grin

donnakebabnew Sat 24-Jan-15 09:57:03

I found the TENS machine to be a great help. I felt in control of my labour and body and managed to use it up to 9cm. I have always used as they have been recommended by friends and family and found them to be great. 6 weeks tens hire for £19.95 which includes delivery and return everything included and a free 1 week extension if required.

HTH xx

NoodieRoodie Sat 24-Jan-15 10:01:49

I loved it, and that was the only person relief I had due to has and air making me feel really sick and woozy.

I hired one first time round then second time I got a bargain of eBay. I'm currently pregnant with number 3 so will be hopefully using it again

NoodieRoodie Sat 24-Jan-15 10:02:23

pain relief even!

stargirl1701 Sat 24-Jan-15 10:05:31

I have used it in both labours. I find it excellent. You need to put it on early though. I use a hierarchy of relief to help me feel in control. I know where I am in my list and how many steps I have left.

1. Paracetamol
2. Bath
4. Birth ball
5. Breathing - long/slow
6. Visualisations - boat on a pond/feather in my palm works for me
7. Birth pool
8. Gas and air
9. Diamorphine
10. Epidural

I have been lucky with my births. I went to 7 with DD1 and 8 with DD2.

Newquay Sat 24-Jan-15 10:12:18

While you are in boots get a spray of water mist too - I found that when I took off my tens (worked marvellously for me) then into tub, what really helped was DH spraying my tummy with the water spray mist - it worked I guess as a cold distraction - really helped on the intense last few contractions in the tub. Good luck x

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