Pregnancy App Article: "Planning ahead: Pain relief"

Week 31
TENS machines
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Some women swear by them
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Start thinking ahead to pain relief now because there are some things you’ll need to hire in advance. One of these is a TENS machine, if you choose to use one.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is a mouthful at the best of times, let alone when you're in labour, but this machine is the gadget-lover’s answer to combating labour pains. 

A hand-held device that can be bought or hired, it is most effective in the early stages of labour when it can be more of a distraction than anything else. In fact, a Nintendo DS might work just as well.

By turning a dial, you send an electrical current via electrodes attached to your back (with small adhesive pads) to block pain messages and crack open the endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Some women swear by it, but others find it annoying at best. 

Here’s a brief rundown of the pros and cons of TENS machines:


  • No harmful effects on baby
  • May help you cope with early labour
  • You can stay mobile 


  • A bit rubbish according to some 
  • Might be annoying
  • Can’t use in water birth unless you fancy being electrocuted. (Note: if you do fancy being electrocuted, please share these feelings with your midwife rather than just jumping in with it turned up to MAX.)
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When you are pushing that little button you feel like it’s really helping, but my battery went dead and it took me an hour to notice.
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I felt like I had ants all over my back.
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TENS does nothing apart from make you want to shove it into the wall, or your husband’s face.
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