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Thread: Who has used TENS?

  1. #1

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    Default Who has used TENS?

    I am contemplating hiring a TENS machine to use during my labour, in the hope I can be comfortable at home for a long as possible, and that I can hold off on the gas once in hospital for as long as possible too! I am hoping to avoid peth and/or an epidural.



    I would love some feedback from those who have used TENS during their labour and how they found it, would you do it again? Etc etc.

    TIA!

  2. #2

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    Some con's for using TENS:

    * You cant use it in the water
    * It's only really helpful to those who have backache labour (posterior bub)
    * You basically sit there and wait for a contraction as you need to press it just before it gets there, so I think it makes you focus on the pain more
    * There are still questions as to whether it effects the baby or not

    Only had two clients who have used it, one took it off as it wasn't helping - she said 'the pain is all in the front anyway' and the other took it off for a shower and didn't find it helpful enough to put it back on.

    Invest in something like hypnobirthing/calmbirthing and/or a doula instead
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children

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  3. #3

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    Thanks Kelly! Very helpful

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    Hey there, I thought about the TENS machine and looked and felt it and everything when i was pregnant. i never got around to getting one and in the end it was lucky cause when i was in labour mum tried to be helpful by putting a back massager on my back and I nearly punched her! Turns out I couldn't stand the feeling of anything on my back.

    I had a 32 hour labour and was comfortable at home for 28 hours without a tens machine, it can be done

  5. #5

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    Sez, I actually hired one with DS 2, and started using it at home for a little bit before I went into labour, but I have a bad back anyway and I found that even on nearly full it barely gave me relief from my normal pain, let alone in labour. I didn't even bother packing it in my bag.

    Hope you have more luck though

  6. #6

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    Sez I used TENS for all 3 births and had 3 different experiences with it...

    For Masons birth I found it to be a great help. It helped to distract me and I did learn how to time it so that it took the edge off. Once the contractions got really strong I laboured in the bath so it had to come off where I changed to gas.

    For Angus' birth it was great in the early stages but then the hand controller broke so I had some dramas. One thing I noticed was the intensity would almost floor me when it would cut out mid contraction. It went from hurty but bearable to OMG, then bearable again as it cut in and out. I just twiddled the dials after that but it was a PIA! I took it off and got in the bath again.

    For Calebs birth, it could have been the nature of that labour but it seemed that every time I put the TENS on my contractions would stop.
    This labour was hard and fast once it got going so the TENS really did nothing for me but it was a security thing. I think it did relieve a bit in the early stages but I could have done without it.

  7. #7

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    Thanks so much everyone.

    I don't think I'm going to worry about it. It doesn't sound like anyone has great success with it, and some people think it's a PITA! I'm going to trust my body and my DH to be able to help me get through.

    So thanks again for your feedback, gotta love having a place like this to come to when you need advice!

  8. #8

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    great thread - i was thinking about one as well, as it seemed a great idea. Now, i not so sure.
    Kelly made a good point about possibly making you focus more on the pain, as you would be sitting there waiting for the next contraction. Instead of moving around freely, and doing other things to occcupy your mind.

  9. #9

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    Mmmmmm, I totally get that point, but would you possibly be doing that anyway? Esp. if you're using gas etc? Or maybe it's more likely when using the TENS? (Haven't actually used one before )

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    Sez, I found the gas very soothing as a way to focusing my breathing and also something to bite down on.

    I think Kelly makes a really valid point with the TENS, there is nothing to actually focus on breathing into iykwim ( I know the gas isn't for everyone, but just an example) Once you get into a good routine with the gas it just comes automatically. As soon as you start to feel a contraction you want to breathe - hence breathe on the gas. I would have killed any person that tried to take that mouthpiece away from me! lol

    Although this time I am going to try and avoid the gas as well!

    Goodluck!

  11. #11

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    Oh, I'm bang up for the gas Relle! I just want to try and go as long as I can without it IYKWIM? And if I can do it without it, that's even better!

  12. #12

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    Ooooh, I had TENS and loved it! Seriously, I had no pain until we had to stop it for all the monitoring to happen. Well, I had sort of mild period-pain until I was almost fully dilated, when we stopped the machine. I was told that I was allowed to make a noise if I wanted, the midwives were concerned about how quiet I was!

    Make sure you know how the machine works BEFORE you go into labour - if you don't want to practice on you, at least practice pressing the buttons. Also, make sure you start it before you think you need pain relief, it's one of those things that builds up. But it does cut the pain right down, I couldn't believe how much it cut things back for me when I took it off.

    If I was going to not trust something, it wouldn't be TENS, it would be my DH. Stupid man pushing drugs after he promised not to! Get a decent birth attendant if you want one, I didn't want even my DH there, but TENS is a lot better than a DH. Who wouldn't even massage me or be any help once the intervention started.

  13. #13

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    I too loved my TENS machine. I had to be (OK agreed to be) induced at 42 weeks and contractions started 45 mins after the first lot of gel. I hadn't expected things to happen so fast and so hadn't put it on. As the contractions were coming 2 mins apart and didn't slow down, I got it on fast. I used it and breathing/self hypnosis for the next 15 -16 hours, basically until about an hour into my wait for the epidural when it was decided I needed a c/s as DS' head wouldn't fit thru my fully dilated cervix. I'll be using it again next time if I can go for a VBAC. I didn't find I was waiting for the contraction or focussing on the pain.

    Maybe go to one of the info sessions and try it out so you can see if you like the feeling. I found it quite different to another type of TENS I'd used on my neck and shoulders.

  14. #14

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    Ooooh that's two good stories, maybe I should keep thinking about it?

    If I choose to get it, I will do a session with the hospital physio who shows you how to use etc, and then you take it home. So it can be used from whenever you need it, which I like the idea of. I guess it can't hurt to try? Maybe some more women will come in and report on their experience, and help me make my mind up LOL!

  15. #15

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    Hi all,
    I used TENS most of the way through a long labour and found it really helpful. After a few hours of breathing, rocking, massage and hot water bottles it seemed to do the trick, especially when we increased the levels slowly. My husband did all the positioning of the electrode thingies (guided by me) and I tapped him as the contractions came on and he pushed up the intensity. As the labour progressed and I began endless pacing around the birthing room, he followed me with the controls and I called out "More juice honey", which eventually shortened to "JUICE!!" as the hours wore on. We got into a pretty good rhythm. Apart from not being able to use it in a hot, hot shower (which I reckon is the best for the pain, apart from an epidural of course!) I found it quite useful; the buzzing did distract me from the pain.
    Of course, everyone is different - for me the gas did nothing - but I do think that it's useful to have as many different options up your sleeve as possible.
    Anyway, hope that's helpful!
    Bid

  16. #16

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    Im another TENS lover!! I found it to be great, although due to short labour not sure if I'd have liked it for a long one, but for me it was great. Got my mind off other things, and for $10 hire per week I thought it couldn't hurt to have it as stand by. Turns out I had it on for about 1 hour 45 of a 1 hour 54 min labour. xo

  17. #17

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    Ohhh- I've read through a few threads on these now and can't decide! I know my sister found the TENS machine to be really helpful and I'm kind of thinking just hire it and if I don't want it then so be it.

    But my hospital doesn't have any sessions I can try it before the birth so I'd have to just hire it without knowing what I think of the sensation. I hate being buzzed by stuff normally so does it really feel like a slight electric shock? Can anyone explain it? It would cost me $80 to hire and don't know if it's worth it...

  18. #18

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    Ren - there's a company, if you want to contact them - http://www.tensaustralia.com/home.asp - they should be able to tell you when a hossy near you has a session and you and your partner/support person can try it on your hand.

    I loved mine - will definately get one for the next birth.

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