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tell me about tens machines....

(26 Posts)
honey86 Mon 02-Sep-13 11:41:24

im 31 weeks and just about starting to think about getting prepared....

is it worth hiring a tens machine? how do you work them? do they even work? from what i can see of pics it looks abit fiddly n awkward to put on...

BelleEtLaBaby Tue 03-Sep-13 05:15:08

I loved the borrowed one I had for my first labour so much I refused my planned water birth! I didn't think it was really doing much at first, but I took it off to have a bath and realised how good it had been - and I didn't take it off until a few hours after DS1 was born as its also supposed to be good for after pains. I bought one off eBay this time for £20 - it's an ex-hire unit which has been refurbished. I'm not planning any more kids but £20 to own it was less than hiring the same one so I went for it. Plan to lend it to SIL who is due in Jan then probably flog it.

The labour tens differs from a regular tens in that there are 4 pads instead of two - this has something to do with the placement of pads and the specific locations of labour pains. The reason they say don't use in pregnancy is they are not recommended before you are actually in labour as they can stimulate contractions or distress the baby by givin them a shock. My labour tens says not o use at all before 37 weeks - I did a bit of reading as I have had awful backache and thought the machine might help, but my MW said it can bring on labour. A bit more reading showed up a few studies where the tens caused contractions but these subsided when the tens was removed. But that's why you can't use them in pregnancy, only labour.

Might be worth asking around to see if anyone's got one you could borrow?

fuckwittery Tue 03-Sep-13 00:07:51

I loved it in my first labour (long and slow) but didn't get on with it in my second (back to back labour, went from 1cm to 9cm in 5 hours). I suspect in active labour it might not work that well, for me at least but I'm definitely getting it ready for no 3. i bought mine for 50 quid from mothercare in 2008 with a friend who was due 6 weeks after, we're both now on our third child and have lent it out to countless friends so it has had good use!

Puzzledmoo Mon 02-Sep-13 23:02:17

I used a good quality hired one both times and found it extremely helpful. It was the only pain relief I used and thanks to it (and breathing) I got to the hospital when I was 7 (DD1) and 10 (DD2) cm. I found it easy to use and a good distraction. Make sure you and your DP are familiar with it beforehand. Also take care when switching it on. You need to up it gradually else you could give the baby a mini shock and end up with meconium in the waters. Good luck with the birth.

Essexgirlupnorth Mon 02-Sep-13 23:01:52

I got one on eBay as was as cheap as renting one. Make sure you search for maternity tens.
Our NCT teacher said that the unit is fine second hand just need to buy new pads that you stick on your back. Can get them on amazon or the manufactures website.
Thought it was worth giving it a try.

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 02-Sep-13 22:53:10

They are definitely the marmite of pain relief...

Worked for me, used it both times, nothing else. Felt weird and tingly and sort of warm. Hired one from Boots, not that expensive.

MoonHare Mon 02-Sep-13 22:48:36

I've had 3 babies, no pain relief other than TENS with all three. It absolutely worked for me. TENS doesn't take the pain away but the sensation (similar to pins and needles) acts as a distraction from pain during contractions. They are simple to put on and use. Make sure you put it on early, not straight away but as soon as contractions are regular and giving you pause. I rented mine from Boots.

Crikeyblimey Mon 02-Sep-13 22:40:44

Hated it. To be fair, I was progressing much faster than anyone noticed and I think I was way too far along for it to be any use. I just wanted of OFF ME!

Was only in labour for about 6 hours though and took everyone (including me) by surprise.

CircassianLeyla Mon 02-Sep-13 22:39:52

On my own though I see. Honestly they are cheap or hire one, you have nothing to lose.

CircassianLeyla Mon 02-Sep-13 22:36:29

In the midst of labour, pretty useless was my assessment. Gave me sonething to focus on for about 45 seconds.

After 3 labours counting is the only thing that removed the focus for me - best thing I ever read "the longest contraction at its worse lasts 90 seconds". Hence the counting.

honey86 Mon 02-Sep-13 22:32:36

thanks thanks this is my 4th baby and my last 3 had long complicated induced births, so im hoping itll be much different this time. i really doubt ill have anymore after so cheapest option is best x

FishCalledWonder Mon 02-Sep-13 16:10:52

I bought one from Boots. It helped during the first part of labour. I turned it up to 'match' the pain of contractions and it definitely distracted me. I sold mine on ebay for over half what i paid for it.

SunnyL Mon 02-Sep-13 16:10:52

Whoever invented the Tens machine is a bloody genius. I had a looooooong labour with a back to back baby (65hrs) and the Tens machine was my saviour and allowed me to get through the first 50hrs without any other pain relief. I was even able to go for walks around the village by hiding the keypad in my pocket.

I hired one and it came with plenty batteries and pads.

Pancakeflipper Mon 02-Sep-13 16:06:31

I bought one and I found it useful because it distracted me messing with dials when pain came.

I didn't thankfully need other pain relief and also went into transition without noticing. Baby was born 2hrs after we went into hospital. They had to prise it off me in the last 20mins.

Used it for DS2 too. Again I think it helped me stay at home until 2hrs before he was born.

As they aren't expensive I think it's worth a go. Apparently the earlier in labour you use them the better.

ChunkyPickle Mon 02-Sep-13 16:02:54


Sorry, link fail..

ChunkyPickle Mon 02-Sep-13 16:02:37

I just bought this one - it's maternity, it's got the boost, and it's no more expensive than renting one. Reviews looked OK in the places I looked.. I figure for that price it's worth a try.

birdybear Mon 02-Sep-13 15:56:50

I used one and it was brilliant. It is a mama tens . Google it. Specifically for use in labour. It has different intensity settings and a booster for when a contraction is really intense. Twas really good and helped me feel in control of the pain.

Am i allowed to say a have one for sale and pm me if you are interested?! Please delete this post admin if this is not allowed.

Misty9 Mon 02-Sep-13 15:35:44

I rented one for a planned home birth. Ended up induced but it was easy to apply and a good distraction from pain in early stages. I found it too much stimulation once contractions got going properly though and dh took it off, promptly shocking himself with all four pads grin

Smitten1981 Mon 02-Sep-13 15:19:17

I got one here, cheapest I'd found it and good reviews too.

it was delivered pretty fast, not due till October so haven't used it yet though, fingers crossed it works.

ilikebaking Mon 02-Sep-13 14:34:14

Can anyone post a link to the ones they have bought please... all the lloyds pharmacy ones I can find online say DO NOT USE sad

williwonti Mon 02-Sep-13 13:26:14

I bought Llloyds Pharmacy own-brand and it was great, reasonable cost at £30/£40 and easy to use. It really helped me.

ilikebaking Mon 02-Sep-13 13:24:45

The tens I bought says do not use in pregnancy... do they all say this? Or are there special pregnancy ones?

BlueChampagne Mon 02-Sep-13 13:01:46

Marmite: some love 'em, some hate 'em. However you don't know till you've tried! Definitely look on ebay if you think you might have more kids - also good for ailments such as bad backs and shoulders. Make sure you have a boost button.

The Tens machine was all the pain relief I had for DS2 who ended up being born in the bathroom.

AnotherStitchInTime Mon 02-Sep-13 11:54:19

I rented one for my labour with dd2 and what a difference it made. I laboured at home without issue, didn't even realise I had gone through transition and ended up getting to hospital and finding out I was fully dilated already. Unfortunately dd2 got stuck on the way out so I ended up in theatre, they had to prise it off me to give me the spinal anaesthetic!

It is easy to put on, DH stuck the pads on in the position shown in the instructions, you can't do it yourself as they go on your back. I clipped the control pack onto my maternity leggings so that I could change the setting easily as I felt a contraction coming on. There is a dial to set the intensity of the current so that you can have more relief as the contractions get stronger and mine also had a boost button that you pressed for a contraction.

Patilla Mon 02-Sep-13 11:50:44

Sorry didn't answer.

Mine was really straightforward - pads on and wheel thing to adjust strength.

That said I did give DH the responsibility of knowing how it worked so I didn't have to fathom it in between contractions! That was a good idea. It kept him occupied for a while!

Patilla Mon 02-Sep-13 11:49:13

I bought one for DS thought it wast working until it came off and I really noticed as did the midwife who accidentally touched the pad

But I would definitely hire one as I bought one and ended up with ELCS second time so it's only been used once. Hopefully I can get a bit back if I can only work out selling on eBay!

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