Pregnancy guide > Labour and birth > Pain relief > TENS machines > Buying or hiring a TENS machine

Buying or hiring a TENS machine

Advice on the features to consider when buying or hiring a TENS machine for pain relief in labour, plus the opportunity to purchase or hire a range of TENS machines.
All TENS machines do the same job; that is they apply electrical pulses to specific points on your back in order to 'block' the pain signals being sent to your brain, and therefore provide pain relief.

Where they differ is in the features offered, which covers the maximum intensity and duration of the electrical pulses that can be generated, the frequency range of those pulses and their general ease of use as a result of the buttons, dials etc provided.

Even the most basic TENS machine will usually allow you to vary the pulse rate, although the 'pulse width, i.e. the duration of the pulse, may be fixed.

More expensive models will allow you to vary the intensity and the pulse width. Some will have a number of pre-programmed pulse rates / pulse widths according to the intensity and type of pain being experienced.

Some cheaper models only have three adhesive pads, rather than the usual four, which some claim is less effective, so make sure you know how many pads are included.

When choosing your TENS machine, make sure it is small and portable, and most importantly very simple to operate. The last thing you want to be doing in the middle of your labour is trying to work out which button does what, or suddenly increasing the intensity of the electrical signals when all you want is to increase the pulse rate.

Given the features offered by many TENS machines, it is important that you spend time familiarising yourself with the unit's functionality, buttons and dials, well in advance of your due date.

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Which company is the best?
by martyna137 10th Feb 2011, 8:48am