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to tens or not to tens

(31 Posts)
cawood77 Thu 02-Dec-10 16:58:43

As my due date fast approaches, I was just wondering if anyone had experience of using the Tens machine and if it was worth the money (either hiring or buying).
part of me thinks I will wont be wanting to have the pads stuck to me when I get further into labour - what do you think????

changer22 Thu 02-Dec-10 17:04:38

I used it with children 1, 3 and 4. I won't say much about number 1 as I don't want to put you off the whole childbirth thing (!) but I thought it was great with 3 and 4. They were both born on gas and air and Tens and were 9lb 5 and 10lb 14 so a good size too!

I would add that if you feel irritated by the Tens machine then you aren't in labour!

ziptoes Thu 02-Dec-10 17:16:33

I loved the tens machine with both of mine, had virtually no other pain relief. I gather the important thing is to get the pads on early or it doesn't work. With both of mine I put the machine on as soon as the contractions got going, and both times managed to doze through the very early stages until i had to start using the boost button during contractions.

Best of luck with labour!

RayeB Thu 02-Dec-10 17:43:12

I don't think it really helped that much with me, the pads kept falling off - I think (TMI) that I must have been "perspiring" a lot. I had a very difficult labour though so maybe that is why. I don't think I'll get one again, I'm 27 weeks and have already decided to just go down the drugs drugs and more drugs route (not very natural birth wanted!).

pozzled Thu 02-Dec-10 17:47:11

I used one when DD was born and found it really helpful. I was in slow labour for quite some time, but I coped fine with the tens. When the mw examined me I was 7-8cm, and I only took the tens off so that I could get into the birth pool. At times I wasn't sure how much it helped, but as soon as it came off the next contraction hit me really hard, so it was clear how much it was working!

pozzled Thu 02-Dec-10 17:48:32

Oh and a good tip is to look on e-bay, I bought one in good-as-new condition for the same as what I would have paid to hire it. Then you can either use it again if you have more DC or sell it on if you find it doesn't suit you.

jellyhead188 Thu 02-Dec-10 17:57:42

Never got to use mine with DC1 (again wont scare you!) but used it with DC2 and it was fab, put off using the gas and air for a while - its nice to have something to concentrate on during contractions too - and I found it really helped in the early stages. xx

CrazyChristmasLady Thu 02-Dec-10 20:40:02

I have been considering this too.

Maybe I should look into it as I want to avoid epidural/intervention birth this time.

nameymcnamechange Thu 02-Dec-10 20:41:35

I would say definitely yes. I found it made a tremendous difference to the level of pain, although I only got to 3cm dilated. But it was all manageable up to that point.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 02-Dec-10 20:42:34

As a midwife I have to say that I think they're fantastic for most women. Some women don't seem to find them any good but its a definate minority. I would give it a go, could well be the best £3o/£40 you ever spend.

megonthemoon Thu 02-Dec-10 20:50:16

I used it for DS and it definitely helped in the early stages - it went a little bit pear-shaped after that but not the fault of the tens!

With DD, I got to 6cm with just the TENS and then used that with gas and air until she was born. It didn't help much at first, but I got DH to reposition the pads lower and it was brilliant. So if you try and it doesn't seem to do much, have a go at repositioning the pads to see if that helps.

Towards the end I didn't think it was doing much and that all my relief was from gas and air, but the midwife said people often say that but if you took it off you would really notice the difference.

Definitely worth the hire cost, both times!

Wigeon Thu 02-Dec-10 20:50:46

Loved it with DD. Will def give it a go with DC2 (due May 2011). Used it from the beginning right up to the very end. Had some gas and air at the end but don't think that made any difference to the pain.

One thing to bear in mind is that you can't use it in a pool (kind of obvious, but I hadn't really thought of that).

thelittlebluepills Thu 02-Dec-10 20:53:26

It worked brilliantly for me with DS2 - I also tried turning it off for one contraction to see if it was making much difference - it certainly was!

The real highlight was after DS2 was born as DH took the pads off my back and gave himself a shock grin

Caz10 Thu 02-Dec-10 20:55:07

If nothing else, fiddling with it seemed to be a good distraction!

Pootles2010 Thu 02-Dec-10 20:56:48

Got very cross with mine and hurled it across bedroom. Really should have learned how to use it first, and started to use it before being 7cm... Might as well give it a go, anything that helps is good! If it doesn't work, no harm done.

morethanasong Thu 02-Dec-10 20:59:05

I tried it with dd1, absolutely hated it and tore the pads off after one contraction. With dd2 I didn't bother with tens but hired a pool instead and it was wonderful Still, tens is probably worth a try if it's not too expensive, but if it's a choice between tens and a pool (and you can't take your tens machine into the pool as a pp has pointed out), I'd definitely go for the pool!

LostInTransmogrification Thu 02-Dec-10 21:00:12

I used tens and found it betterthan entonox or pethidine for helping with the pain. My leads came loose so would advise trying them in position before youneed them and then duct tapingthem on (no joke as you get shocked if they disconnect!)

Getoutofmyhouse Thu 02-Dec-10 21:04:08

I guess I'm alone on this but with dd I hated the bloody thing. Felt like slugs shagging my back. Went on to have her with just paracetamol and a bot of g & a. My dsis however swears by it.

AmyFarrahFowler Thu 02-Dec-10 21:04:56

I LOVED my TENS, used it for both births. The first time round I managed with just the TENS and some paracetamol for almost all the labour, just had G&A for the last half hour (and the stitches!)

I'd say get a decent one, with two pairs of electrodes on 'dual channels', with a boost button (you'll need it!), an obstetric mode if possible and on the better models the facility to change the pulse rate, pulse width and the waveform - then you have the best chance of being able to adjust it to suit you best and give the best pain relief.

Restrainedrabbit Thu 02-Dec-10 21:05:59

I hated the thing (three dcsxall born at home), found it really irritating and didn't help in any way!

YankNCock Thu 02-Dec-10 21:06:56

I didn't think it was doing much, but when I stopped it I realised at least the odd sensation was distracting! We already had one as DH had it for back pain, but if I hadn't had one I'd have been annoyed I spent £40 on it.

And my hypnotherapy CD was bollocks too.

Restrainedrabbit Thu 02-Dec-10 21:08:42

Oh I preferred the pool as a good form of pain relief- heaven smile

billybunter Thu 02-Dec-10 21:12:07

I can't recommend tens enough. They truly do zap contractions. As someone said, if it annoys you, then you are not in advanced labour. I've had two children and found it invaluable each time.

Top tips:

Learn how to use it well in advance. The basics plus the way to get the most benefit from each level it offers. Note that you need a continuous soft current going on, then your boost function when contractions occur.

Position pads carefully, get duct tape and stick it all down. If it's not helping move the pads.

Put it on as soon as you feel the first twinge so the endorphins start to work.

HollyFP Thu 02-Dec-10 21:16:57

I used mine the moment I felt contractions starting...over 12 hours later I was still using it (long first stage!)

It's as good at providing relief as providing psychological distraction IYKWIM. If it doesn't work for you, fine, at least you tried. If you don't try you might wish you did, when it's too late!

CrazyChristmasLady Fri 03-Dec-10 11:38:02

Reading them all I am not so sure now. When I got to the hospital I was 5 cm before I had my epidural (I always knew I was going to have one as early as possible) and I coped fine with the pain.

I have heard that the TENs isn't as effective at dealing with the stronger pain so I'm not sure whether to bother really. My plan is to get in the pool but I'm not holding my breath that it will be available when I want it.

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