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Pain relief of TENS machine versus Birthing Pool - which is better?

(9 Posts)
pinkpainter Thu 06-Oct-11 20:38:42

38 weeks pregnant and wondering whether to change my birth plan.....
I wanted a water birth last time but was so far through the labour by the time the pool was ready that I didn't get in it and the pain relief from the TENS machine was excellent, in fact it was my only pain relief through the whole birth, and I would have had to take it off before getting in the pool. Just wondering if the pain relief from the water would have been just as good, or better, and whether I should opt for a water birth again this time - and hope I can get to the hospital early enough to actually get in the pool!

notcitrus Thu 06-Oct-11 21:06:47

I used TENS during labour for the journey to hospital and then while getting admitted and then while kneeling on beanbags, which was manageable (about level 3-4 on the tens), but I loved the birthing pool - when they made me get out eight hours later TENS didn't really cut it even on max level 17.

But I think it's a really personal thing. Do you have to decide in advance? At least you know TENS works well for you in case all the pools are occupied.

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Thu 06-Oct-11 21:11:25

I find warm water is a better source of pain relief than the TENS. However TENS is still good for early labour - ime.

Both times, it got to a point where the TENS wasn't doing anything anymore, then getting in the warm water was amazing - the pain relief was immense.

Good luck smile

twinklespeciallyforlittlegirls Fri 07-Oct-11 05:19:15

Ooh, book for the pool - everyone I've ever met (apart from one person) who had a water birth raves about it and my friend who is a mw absolutely loves attending them.

I would have liked a water birth for DC1 but our house isn't big enough for the pool - just as well as I got in the bath and HATED it (I also ended up in hospital having a cs but that's by the by!) - as did the one person I met who didn't like the pool and insisted on getting out.

You'll have your TENS anyway in case you don't have time or the pool is in use by someone else. Enjoy! Hope you have a lovely water babe smile

pinkpainter Fri 07-Oct-11 08:36:00

Thanks everyone - heard so much positive feedback about a pool that I think I will definitely give it a go - if I can and if it's available. If not I have the TENS machine anyway, which I know was fantastic last time anyway!

MummyAbroad Fri 07-Oct-11 17:57:00

Sorry to vote the other way, but I would say TENS is better. I did early labour at my mums house because she has an enormous round bath - ok so it wasnt a pool but it was very deep and spacious. It helped for a while and then wasnt enough so I got out and put the TENS machine on. That got me through the whole rest of the labour, I went to a birth unit at 10cms so it was too late to consider the pool option again, just kept the TENS on all the way through.

Having said that, it wasnt enough to deal with the post partum pain from a 2nd degree tear and stiches (I was begging for drugs at that point!) - I do wonder if perhaps I wouldnt have torn had I been in the water?

Maisiethemorningsidecat Fri 07-Oct-11 17:59:41

I used both every time - the TENS for early to mid stage labour and then into the pool. Both were bloody marvellous! Good luck - here's to a short, pain-free labour smile

Tinkerisdead Fri 07-Oct-11 18:04:57

I loved my tens machine. I cried at having to take it off to get in the pool. But once i got into water the relief was immense. I still transferred to hospital for an epidural but whereas the tens got me through hour to hour contraction by contraction, i lost 4 hours zoned out in water. When i got out the tens just didnt cut it anymore. And i really did love tens!

pinkpainter Fri 07-Oct-11 21:24:16

More excellent feedback - thank you!! - I'm hoping to get to the hospital faster this time so I can get in the pool at an earlier stage of the birth and really enjoy the experience, rather than arriving at 8-9cms like last time. Happy to have some g&a in the pool too if necessary - I had some afterwards during the stitches and although it did make me feel a bit drunk the relief was very good!

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