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Hiring A TENS Machine For Labour: All You Need To Know

Pregnant woman thinking of hiring a TENS machine for labour

Hiring a TENS machine for labour is a cost-effective method to manage pain. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a therapy treatment using electrical impulses to the body. Using a TENS machine is one of the options that many pregnant women consider to relieve pain during childbirth. Moreover, they are available by renting from a clinic or hospital or purchasing a personal device. Hiring a TENS unit involves a rental feel for six to eight weeks of use.

Pregnant women may use a TENS machine for labour pain relief. The device is safe and convenient for home or hospital birth. However, it is essential to research what type of device you need. TENS machines come in various models, and some are designed specifically for labour. In this article, we will talk about how TENS relieve pain, factors to consider when hiring a TENS unit, and how to use the device safely.

Understanding TENS Before Hiring A TENS Machine for Labour

Labour pain varies among women. Some may experience severe abdominal cramping that radiates to the lower back and legs. Healthcare providers may suggest hiring a TENS machine for labour to manage pain without drugs. They can also guide you on how TENS works to use the device effectively.

A TENS machine uses electrical currents to stimulate the nerves to reduce pain sensations. They vary in frequency and intensity levels to attain maximum relief. High-frequency TENS impedes the transmission of pain signals going to the brain. It works when the currents cause the “neural gates” to close in the spinal cord. Thus, the brain processes fewer signals, resulting in pain alleviation.

Alternatively, low-frequency TENS triggers the release of more endorphins. They are natural chemicals that help blocks out pain messages. It is advisable to start with low stimulation levels at the early stages of labour to give the body time to produce endorphins. Then, gradually increase the intensity when the contractions get stronger and longer.

Benefits When Used For Labour

  • TENS machines provide natural or drug-free pain relief. It reduces the need for drugs that may have side effects.
  • It has no harmful effects on the mother or the baby.
  • It gives you a sense of control. You can adjust the settings or stop the use at any time.
  • A TENS machine is non-invasive. The electrode pads do not penetrate the skin, and they do not leave permanent marks.
  • The device is portable, enabling you to move around or stay active during labour.
  • The tingling sensations from a TENS machine also serve as a distraction from contractions, reducing the awareness of pain.

iTENS small and large wings

Factors to Consider When Hiring A TENS Machine For Labour

The main factor when hiring a TENS machine for labour is the type of device you need and its functions. Different machines have various features and settings. Hence, it is crucial to get a device with convenient functions to fit your needs. Additionally, reading user reviews and safety precautions can help you choose a TENS machine.

The second consideration is the availability or length of rental. Some providers offer short-term rentals, while others have long-term packages. Most TENS machines are available for a six to eight weeks hire period. Failure to return the unit on time may incur penalties or other charges. Moreover, check if the clinic or TENS provider offers a reservation to guarantee the availability of the device on a specific period.

Finally, check and compare the cost price between each device. The rates may vary depending on the type, additional features, and hire duration. Furthermore, review the terms and conditions to ensure the provider is reliable and avoid unwanted charges.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Hiring a TENS machine presents several advantages and drawbacks. A main advantage is being able to use TENS therapy for the short-term, such as labour pain. Renting an obstetric TENS machine is less expensive than buying one. Therefore, it lets you use the device for a single occasion without costing much.

On the other hand, the cost may inflate once you fail to return the device after the hire period. In addition, damage to the device may also result in charges. For long-term use, especially for treating chronic pain conditions, buying a personal TENS machine may be more cost-efficient.

Pregnant woman with partner considering hiring a TENS machine for labour

How to Use The Device Safely Upon Hiring A TENS Machine For Labour

After hiring a TENS machine for labour, test the device to see if it works well. You may try the device by placing the electrodes on other parts of the body away from the abdomen. You may also consult your doctor for guidance on setting adjustment and pad placement. For safe use, remember to place the electrodes on the lower back and not on the belly.

At the start of labour, attach the electrodes on both sides of the spine below the bra line and above the sacral dimple. Once in place, turn on the device and start at the lowest setting. Slowly increase the intensity as the contractions get stronger. Most labour TENS machine has an integrated boost button to combat pain during contractions. This feature sends extra pulse power for maximum pain relief.

You may keep on increasing the intensity as long as tolerable. However, make sure that it does not add to the discomfort. Some devices have a contraction timer to track the duration of peak contractions. After use, turn the unit off before removing the electrode pads.

Safety Precautions

Following the safety precautions in using a TENS machine is vital to ensure the well-being of the mother and the baby. Firstly, avoid using the device during the first weeks of pregnancy or the gestation period. People with epilepsy, heart condition, or cardiac pacemaker must consult a healthcare professional before using TENS.

A TENS machine is safe to use starting at the early stages of labour and throughout the delivery process. However, if the mother experiences any issues such as dizziness or skin irritation, discontinue using the device. Lastly, do not use the device in a birth pool or shower.


Hiring a TENS machine for labour is an effective and cost-efficient way to manage painful contractions. Check with your doctor for recommendations on getting TENS machines for hire. Moreover, there are several factors to consider in choosing a device. It includes knowing the features, functions, term agreements, and costs. Being aware of these factors helps you choose the best TENS machine and avoid unwanted charges, such as late return fees.

With a proper usage guide, you can manage labour pain efficiently. For safe use, stick the electrodes firmly on the back and use the right settings. TENS is a non-invasive method of pain relief and is proven safe for the mother and the baby. It is also beneficial for other chronic and acute pain conditions, like arthritissciatica, and injuries. However, for long-term pain management, buying a TENS unit, like the iTENS, is a more cost-efficient option.

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