There are several ways to reduce discomfort during labour without using medications. One effective technique is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS therapy. This method applies mild electrical pulses to the body through adhesive electrode pads. Devices like the Elle TENS Plus and iTENS are ideal for labour pain relief. They differ in their programs, electrode types, and usage. Elle TENS is designed for obstetric use, while the iTENS is efficient for general pain management.
Despite using electrical currents, a TENS machine is safe for birth pain and acute pain conditions. It is also beneficial for managing chronic pain like arthritis, sciatica, bursitis, and fibromyalgia. Moreover, using the right device is vital to attaining optimal results. It is especially important for labour where the correct application is crucial. In this article, we will review the features of Elle TENS and iTENS and their usage and safety guidelines.
Elle TENS Plus vs iTENS: Device Type
TENS machines consist of adhesive electrode pads to deliver electrical currents to the body. The Elle TENS Plus is a standard labour TENS device with wired pads. This requires connecting the pads to the device before use. It also uses an independent dual-channel design. This means that you can use two different settings on each channel simultaneously.
On the other hand, iTENS is a wireless machine with rechargeable batteries. The electrodes come in three sizes and are easily attachable to any part of the body. Additionally, it is Bluetooth-capable to connect to a smartphone seamlessly. Instead of a wired remote, you can control the stimulation from a mobile device. The app can also connect to multiple devices at once.
The Elle TENS machine comes with 4 self-adhesive rectangle electrodes, a carrying pouch, an electrode placement chart, and a neck cord for mobility. Meanwhile, the iTENS have interchangeable wing-shaped pads in small, large, and long strip sizes. You can also access the pad placement guide through the app.
Advantages of a Wireless Device
- A wireless TENS device enables greater mobility and flexibility during labour, as there are no cables to restrict movement.
- It allows for faster pad placement as there is no additional time needed to connect the wires to the device. Hence, it is ready to use at the start of pain.
- It provides comfort and pain relief throughout the delivery, helping to manage labour pain without medication.
- The wireless connection allows for more convenient control of pain relief through the app.
- It can be used in various positions and with other pain management methods without the limitations that wired TENS units have.
Elle TENS Plus vs iTENS: Device Features and Operation
The Elle TENS Plus is a 3-in-1 obstetric TENS machine that includes birth mode, pelvic floor stimulation, and general pain modes. It has a boost button and a built-in contraction timer to send extra power during each contraction. The boost mode will trigger the timer, measuring the duration between contractions. In addition, the pelvic mode helps women tone their pelvic floor muscles who develop incontinence after birth.
The wireless iTENS features programmable settings and multiple pain modes through the app. The manual mode allows for customisation of intensity, frequency, duration, and waveforms. Conversely, the pre-set modes are programs with fixed settings for the convenient treatment of acute and chronic pain conditions.
Furthermore, using a TENS machine for labour is easy. At the start of labour, place the electrode pads on the lower back and turn on the machine. Start with low intensity and gradually increase as the contractions get stronger. Keep on adjusting the pulse strength until you feel optimal relief. TENS therapy is most effective when applied at the early stages of labour.
How TENS Devices Work
TENS machines help reduce pain by blocking pain signals. This is based on the Gate Control Theory of Pain, wherein the nerves in the spinal cord act as gate controllers. Mild pulses from TENS stimulate these gates to close, hindering pain signals from reaching the brain. The pulses give a tingly sensation, which also helps distract the brain from pain.
The electrical stimulation also promotes the release of endorphins, the hormones that act as natural painkillers. This helps manage labour pains without medications or epidurals. It is best to start with low-frequency settings to allow the body enough time to produce natural opioids.
Elle TENS Plus vs iTENS: Safety Precautions
Using the Elle TENS Plus and the iTENS requires safety precautions for safe pain management. Firstly, it is best to consult your obstetrician or healthcare provider about using TENS for labour. In general, TENS is not recommended for women during early pregnancy. Avoid using the device on the abdomen to prevent inducing contractions.
Secondly, place the electrodes on the lower back on both sides of the spine. Do not put the TENS pads directly on the spinal column or joints. Other areas to avoid are near the eyes, head, chest, and genitals. Likewise, make sure the skin is not broken, infected, or irritated. Moreover, avoid turning the stimulation levels beyond your comfort level.
Since TENS machines are electrical devices, do not use them in the shower or a birth pool. Also, do not submerge the device in water or other liquids to avoid damage. Equally important, TENS therapy is not suitable for individuals with heart problems, epilepsy, and deep vein thrombosis. Finally, do not use TENS near electrical implants, like cardiac pacemakers, to prevent interference or malfunction.
General Guidelines When Using TENS
When applied correctly, TENS machines can be effective for pain relief. For safe and effective use, always start at the lowest intensity settings and gradually increase. The currents must be strong but comfortable. This is also true for other pain conditions. Additionally, position the electrodes on the side of the pain, avoiding bones and joints.
Moreover, clean the area before putting the electrodes. The TENS pads are reusable but are meant for single-person use. Thus, avoid sharing the pads with others to help maintain their effectiveness and prevent any risk of infection. Lastly, monitor the skin for allergic reactions.
TENS machines are non-invasive tools for relieving pain. The Elle TENS Plus and iTENS are suitable for drug-free labour pain relief. They deliver adequate stimulation to the nerves without posing risks or lasting side effects to the mother and the baby. Therefore, it helps relieve pain during labour without the need for medications or injections. Maternity TENS machines include boost functions to give extra pulse power during contractions. Likewise, pre-set modes enable fast and efficient use.
The iTENS maximises portability and convenience through wireless electrodes. Its app connectivity allows for efficient pain control without the restriction of wires. Furthermore, spare electrodes help manage pain in different body areas. You may get the wireless iTENS device and accessories in iTENS Australia. In summary, choosing a device depends on particular needs, conditions, or preferences. Following the safety precautions and guidelines help ensure its effectiveness and safety.