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What is a TENS Machine? A Drug-Free Birth Option

09 Feb, 2024

The Promise of a TENS machine
Pain during labour is a universal experience and is often felt in different ways for different women. While there are various methods to manage it, many mothers seek natural alternatives to medication. As expectant parents seek holistic approaches, the allure of TENS machines lies in their ability to offer a natural, non-invasive solution for managing labour pains. Within this blog, we embark on a journey to uncover the remarkable potential of TENS machine technology, discovering its ability to grant both comfort and control during childbirth. Join us in unravelling the promise that TENS machines hold in revolutionizing the childbirth experience, empowering individuals with a newfound choice in their pain management journey.

How TENS machines work: unravelling the science
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a non-invasive pain relief method that utilises a small, battery operated, portable electronic device that operates by delivering mild electrical impulses to the body through electrode pads placed on the skin. These electrodes, often adhesive pads, are strategically placed, typically near the site of discomfort to provide localised relief. The electrical impulses generated by the TENS machine work by stimulating the nerves in the area where the electrode pads are applied. This stimulation serves multiple purposes in mitigating pain perception.

TENS machine use during childbirth: A natural pain relief alternative
Childbirth is an incredibly transformative experience, Childbirth is an incredibly transformative experience, and the journey through it often involves various forms of pain management. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has emerged as a natural and non-invasive method for pain relief during labour. In the realm of childbirth, where options can sometimes feel limited, TENS machines stand out as a viable alternative that doesn't involve medications or medical interventions. Exploring the effectiveness, ease of use, and benefits of TENS machines in alleviating labour pains sheds light on its role as a promising aid for expectant mothers seeking a more natural approach to managing discomfort during childbirth.

Benefits and Contraindications of TENS for expectant mothers: empowerment and comfort

Using a TENS machine during labour offers several benefits:

1. Non invasive pain relief:
A TENS machine provides a non-invasive method of pain relief, employing electrical pulses to stimulate nerves and disrupt pain signals without the needs for medication or invasive procedures

2. Natural pain management:
A TENS machine is a drug free approach, appealing to those preferring natural methods for pain management during childbirth.

3. Control and empowerment:
TENS machines are typically handheld, allowing the user to control the intensity of the electrical pulses, providing a sense of control and empowerment during labour

4. Mobility and Flexibility:
Since TENS machines are portable, they allow freedom of movement during labour, enabling the individual too change positions and remain mobile, which can aide in labour progress and comfort

5. Safe for mother and baby:
A TENS machine is generally considered safe for both the mother and baby, as it doesn’t involve drugs or invasive procedures

6. Reduction in pain perception:
While not eliminating pain entirely, TENS machines can reduce the perception of pain by interfering with the pain singles being sent to the brain, as previously mentioned

While TENS machines are generally safe and well tolerated, there are also some contraindications and considerations to be aware of when considering its use:

Pacemakers or Implanted devices: TENS machines may interfere with the functioning o pacemakers, implanted defibrillators, or other electronic devices. It’s crucial to avoid using TENS if you have these implants without prior consultation with a healthcare professional

Epilepsy or seizure disorders: The electrical impulses from a TENS machine might trigger seizures in individuals with epilepsy or certain seizure disorders. Precaution should be take and usage discussed with a healthcare provider in these cases

Pregnancy locations: Avoid using the TENS machine of the abdomen during the first trimester of pregnancy, especially near the developing fetus, as there is limited research on its effects during this crucial stage

Active labour near water: TENS machines should not be used by someone actively labouring in water, such as a birthing pool, bath, or shower, due to the risk of electrical hazard and electrocution

Undiagnosed Pain: Using a TENS machine to mask undiagnosed pain can potentially delay proper diagnoses and treatment of underlying conditions. It’s more important to determine the cause of pain before using TENS

Skin condition or sensitivities: Individuals with skin conditions or sensitivities may experience skin irritation or adverse reactions at the electrode sites used for TENS machine

Near mucous membranes or eyes: Avoid placing electrodes near sensitive areas like the eyes, mouth, throat, over mucous membranes or broken skin.

While a TENS machine might not completely eliminate labour pains, it can significantly reduce its intensity, offering a more manageable and comfortable experience for many mothers. Always remember to consult with health care providers before using any pain relief method during childbirth.

In the quest for natural pain management during labour, TENS machines have emerged as a promising solution, providing relied without the need for medication. Their non-invasive nature and ease of use make them an appealing choice for women seeking alternative methods for a smoother childbirth experience.

By: Laura Ward, TENS Hire Perth

Come and chat to the friendly staff at PBC BABY Expo, Perth 23 + 24 March 2024

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