Tens Machine for Labour

birth resources blog post tens machine

Tens Machine (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is a drug-free pain relief option for during labour. The Tens machine sends small, safe pulses of electrical current via the leads to the pads on your skin. They are thought to affect the way pain signals are sent to the brain. The pulses pass through your skin and into your muscles and tissues. This gives you a gentle tingling or buzzing sensation, which may be stronger or weaker, depending on the setting level.

TENS stands for:
  • Transcutaneous (through the skin)
  • Electrical – TENS machines deliver small electrical pulses to the body via electrodes placed on the skin
  • Nerve – pain signals reach the brain via nerves and the spinal cord
  • Stimulation – the pulses are said to stimulate your body to release natural, feel-good hormones called endorphins (which are our body’s natural pain relief hormones). This helps you to feel in control of your labour and be less anxious, and it offers a distraction from your contractions.

The theory behind the effectiveness of TENS machines is that the pulsations flood your nervous system which then limits your body’s ability to send pain signals to your spinal cord and brain.

Although it does not work for everyone during labour and birth, it does assist a high level of women so it might still be worth including this as an extra tool in your toolkit. If you don’t end up using it, there is no harm. And the best news is, you can hire it!

The benefits of using a tens machine may include:
  • Natural pain relief – no medicines or injections required which is good for you and good for baby
  • It may give you some control over pain relief (you have your own controller so you can regulate the pulsations)
  • You can remain mobile (able to move about) during labour, rather than being restricted to a bed

TENS can be used alongside other methods of pain relief. In fact, they are a great accompaniment to your Hypnobirthing techniques!

TENS Machines are super easy to use and come with a complete set of instructions

There is no harm to you or your baby

You can hire it, so it can be quite affordable

TENS can be used at home during early labour 

You can start using your TENS machine from the very beginning of your labour when you’re getting regular surges and backaches. They are said to be most effective in the early stages of labour.

The Birth Store is a great place to hire your TENS machine, they offer an 8 week hire period allowing plenty of time before and after you give birth. Elle Tens Machines are the most popular out of all obstetric TENS. You can hire your machine and they offer delivery Australia wide and offer express shipping or local pickup/ delivery depending on your location if you are due ASAP. 

CLICK HERE to find out more about hiring an Elle tens machine for your birth.