A TENS unit, which stands for transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation, can be a helpful tool to use in labour. It is a handheld device attached to 4 wires which send electronic pulses into the back through 4 electrodes (small pads), activating the gate control theory. The pulses interrupt some of the signals getting to the brain, so many women may report feeling less pain in their backs.
A TENS machine can be used in early labour, active labour, transition, and even through pushing. TENS machines cannot be used in water (shower or bath), or with an epidural, and should be taken off when your baby is going to be imminently born.
This study in the Cochrane Library, which reviewed 17 studies, found that “the majority of women using TENS said they would be willing to use it again in a future labour“. Some of the appeal of a TENS machine is that it may give women a sense of control during labour.
The Elle TENS machine is specifically designed for birthing people. It fits right in your hand, has a burst button for during contractions, and comes with a convenient cord to hang off your neck so it’s never far away. TENS machines can be used at home, at a birth centre, or in the hospital. The labouring person should always be in control of the TENS machine so that she can easily and quickly adjust the settings as needed.
A 5 week TENS machine rental is $80. It includes:
- 1 Elle TENS machine unit
- 1 set of 4 electrode pads
- 2 lead wires, plus a spare
- 1 neck cord
- instructions booklet
I will drop the TENS machine off to you or to your midwifery clinic so that you can pick it up at your next appointment. It is best to rent the unit at 38-39 weeks pregnant so that you can play with it and figure out how it works. Email me for more information or to book your TENS rental.*
DO NOT use any TENS machine before 37 weeks of pregnancy, and speak to your care provider before using any TENS machine.
Here are 2 other articles that I found helpful when learning about TENS machines:
Fit Pregnancy – TENS: The natural labor tool no one talks about
Birth International – TENS: A Marketing Triumph
*You do not have to be a birth client of mine to rent a TENS machine.
*My clients can use my TENS machine while I am attending your birth at no extra fee.
To reserve your TENS machine with in the Greater Victoria (BC) and surrounding areas, please fill out the form below