Useful answers to some frequently asked questions relating to using TENS machines for pain relief in labour.
Q. Is TENS safe to use during labour?
A. TENS is safe for both mother and baby. However always read the safety instructions before use. TENS should not be used by people who have cardiac pacemakers and those with epilepsy or abnormal heart rhythms must always check with their doctor before use.
Q. I am planning to have a natural childbirth- is TENS suitable?
A. TENS is drug free it is an ideal choice for Mums wishing to have a natural labour. Studies have shown that babies born to mothers using TENS are more awake and responsive than those born to mothers using strong drugs for pain relief. As a result mother and baby bonding can start immediately and breast-feeding difficulties are far less likely.
Q. When is the best time to start using the obstetric tens unit?
A. TENS is most effective when used from the start of labour- i.e. at the first onset of regular contractions.
Q. Can I use other types of pain relief with TENS?
A. Yes TENS can also be used in conjunction with other forms of pain relief such as 'gas and air' or pethidine- where smaller doses are generally required.
Q. I am having my labour induced, when should I start using the TENS?
A. Ideally the TENS unit should be started approximately 45 minutes before the induction of labour. This gives time for the endorphins (natural pain- killers) to build up in your body and become effective.
Q. Can I use a non-obstetric TENS machine for labour pain?
A. For the most effective pain relief during childbirth an obstetric TENS unit with a boost button attachment or function should be used.
Q. Any other advice?
A. Make sure you order your TENS unit in plenty of time - 4 to 6 weeks before your due date is advised. You and your partner should have a practice with your machine when you first get it so you are fully prepared when you go into labour.
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