Inhealth, Ireland stock a range of Tens Machines for labour. Most of these specialised tens machines are designed for use only during labour, and are sometimes called pregnancy tens machines, maternity tens machines or even obstetric tens machines. Labour tens machines provide a natural form of pain relief during labour, and can be used along with air, gas and pethidine. Inhealth stock three tens machines for labour – MediTens (our best seller!), Obi Tens and Elle Tens. All of these Tens Machines are delivered the next day from Inhealth Ireland’s warehouse in Dublin.
Tens Machines for Labour Pain Relief
Tens machines are very popular for natural pain relief during labour. They can be used during labour at the same time as using gas, air and pethidine, if you so require. They should not be used before the 37th week of pregnancy, unless you are under medical supervision. Labour Tens machines are also called maternity tens machines or pregnancy tens machines.
How does a Labour Tens Machine work?
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. When you use a Tens machine, you actually pass mild electrical impulses into the nerve fibres which lie below the skin, via pads called electrodes which are attached to the skin. These Tens impulses encourage or help your body produce its own natural pain killing substances, called endorphins.
It is important to note that Tens machines do not cure the cause or source of the pain. Instead they alleviate the pain sensations.
Not every Tens machine is suitable for use during labour so it is important that, if labour pain relief is what you require a Tens machine for, you choose a Tens machine that is specifically designed for labour pain relief. Typically, the pads or electrodes for a labour Tens machine are larger than those supplied with a non-labour Tens machine. Also a pregnancy Tens machine will have a ‘boost’ button or a continuous mode setting which is vital for an extra surge of pain relief during contractions.
However, many maternity Tens machines can be used after the birth for other kinds of pain relief, e.g. back pains, knee pains, some types of headaches, etc. It is just important to note that not every Tens machine can be used for labour pain relief.
The importance of correct / accurate electrode placement
It cannot be stressed too strongly that accurate placement of the electrodes is vital for the labour Tens machine to work effectively, and to get the best or maximum results from it. The electrodes should be positioned so that the electrical current passes through:
the painful area
over acupuncture points
along the nerves leading from the pain.
It is best to use a dual channel pregnancy Tens machine, which means that it has two sets of electrodes to place over two different areas of pain at the same time.
How to locate the best points for electrode placement
Imagine there is a line going around your back from the naval. Use this line as a starting point. Place two of the electrodes of the labour Tens machine approximately 5 cm above this line and the other 2 electrodes 5 cm below this imaginary line. The spine should be used as a guide to the middle of your back (lengthways). The pads or electrodes should be placed about 3 - 4 cm apart, using the spine as the mid-point of your back. It is important to use both sets / pairs of electrodes, in order to maximise the benefits from your pregnancy Tens machine.
When should you start using your Labour Tens Machine?
As previously stated, it is important to note that you should not use your maternity Tens machine before the 37th week of your pregnancy, unless you are under medical supervision. Labour Tens machines can be used throughout labour and the birth itself.
You may begin to use the pregnancy Tens machine as soon as you feel your contractions have started. You may not be sure at first that these pains are really your contractions, but if the level of pain rises and falls then comes back again, you have probably started your labour pains or contractions.
When should you use the different settings or modes on a Labour Tens Machine?
Many labour Tens machines will have different settings or levels or modes, which have different functions depending on whether you are having a contraction or are between contractions. The Burst mode is best used between contractions. Set your Tens machine to the Burst Mode, or if this mode is not pre-set on your Tens machine, set your Tens machine to the following:
pulse rate of 70 or higher
pulse width to around 100 - 150.
The sensation experienced feels a little like a heartbeat, and it encourages the body to produce endorphins, the body’s natural pain killing substances.
The Continuous Mode or Boost Button / Mode is used during contractions. When you feel you are in the middle of a contraction, press the boost button or set the continuous mode. This gives you that extra surge or boost of pain relief required when contractions are at their strongest.
The sensation experienced when your maternity Tens machine is set to continuous or boost is sometimes described as feeling like ‘pins and needles’. This will help disguise or mask the pain.
As soon as the contraction has passed again, you should turn off the boost setting or continuous mode setting. This is important as the pain between contractions is not strong enough to require you to leave this setting on continuously, and you will not get the benefit of the extra surge of pain relief when the next contraction starts.
Are Labour Tens Machines suitable for use by everyone?
Pregnancy Tens machines are very safe for both mother and baby to use during labour, as they provide a natural and drug-free method of pain relief. As mentioned twice before, it is very important that they are not used before the 37th week of pregnancy. Also, if you suffer from epilepsy, have any kind of heart disease or a pacemaker fitted, you should not use any kind of Tens machine. If you have any query or doubt regarding your specific suitability for using a maternity Tens machine, or any kind of a Tens machine, consult your own doctor.
Can you bring your labour Tens machine into your maternity hospital?
Yes, maternity hospitals allow you to bring in your own pregnancy Tens machine with you. If you are in any doubt, check with your hospital before your baby is due. If the doctor or midwife is examining you, you may be asked to temporarily switch your Tens machine off. Some maternity hospitals may have their own supply of maternity Tens machine for use by the patients. But depending on demand, there may not be one available for use when you require it.
Inhealth, Ireland stock three labour Tens / maternity Tens / pregnancy Tens machines / units:
Meditens XP Labour Tens machine for pain relief. This Tens unit is our best-seller, and is supplied with four electrodes, two sets of leads and a battery. This handheld, digital, dual-channel pregnancy Tens machine is easy to use, and has the burst / trigger / boost button for use when you are in the middle of a contraction. It can also be used for other kinds of pain such as back or knee pain, and for headaches caused by tension.
Elle Labour Tens machine. This Tens unit is supplied with four electrodes, 2 lead wires and a spare wire, 4 batteries, a soft pouch for ease of carrying it, a neck cord and a booklet entitled “A Woman’s Guide to Pain Relief”. It has a boost button, and Opti-max technology which gives you an extra reserve or surge of power when you need it. This is important in the final stages of labour, just before the baby is delivered, when you need even more pain relief. The Elle Tens can also treat many other kinds of pain such as arthritis, neck and back pain, sciatica, migraine, period pain, etc. This is described by its manufactures, BabyCare Tens, as the Ultimate Labour Tens machine.
Obi Labour Tens machine. The Obi Tens machine for labour, also made by BabyCare Tens, is versatile, effective and easy to use. It is also suitable for use on many other kinds of pain such as back, shoulder, period, etc. This labour Tens machine has a boost button and pre-set modes for ease of use during contractions. It is supplied with 4 large electrode pads, 2 lead wires, 4 batteries (2 spare), a carrying pouch and a neck cord.
All these Tens machines are available at the best price on inhealth, Ireland, and are delivered the next day from inhealth’s warehouse in Dublin.