- TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. A maternity TENS machine consists of a hand-held controller connected by two sets of fine leads to four sticky pads. These are placed on your back.
- The machine gives out little pulses of electrical energy that reach your skin via the leads and pads. The pulses may give you a tingling or buzzing sensation, depending on the setting. If you don't want to hold the controller, you can clip it to your clothing or attach a strap to hang it around your neck.
- We don’t know exactly how TENS works to help you cope in labour. It may be that the electrical pulses prevent pain signals from reaching your brain. Or the pulses may stimulate your body to release natural, feel-good substances (endorphins). http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a542581/tens
I have completed training on the use of TENS in labor at Renew Physical Therapy with Elizabeth Isa Herrera MSPT, CSCS and Rachel Schneiderman, DPT, ATC. I can help you learn how to use your TENS and will make suggestions for placement on specific locations on your back. If you choose to incorporate a TENS machine into your birth tool kit, we can integrate it with your other coping techniques; such as directed breathing techniques, massage, positions, yoga, hypnobirthing, Bradley and more. If you choose to get an epidural, it can help you delay getting an epidural too early. While you don't use a TENS at the same time as an epidural, it may help a mom who wants pain medication delay the introduction of an epidural into her labor. The longer we can stall getting an epidural, the less chances you will experience the possible side effects, and/or you can minimize the side effects.
*Please check with your provider if you can use a TENS machine before using one.