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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

TENS Machine Birth Guide: Benefits and How to Safely Use Them

A TENS machine with necessary information

Preparing for childbirth can be an overwhelming task, especially when it comes to managing pain. Many women are using a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS machine for birth to relieve discomfort. It is a non-invasive method for pain management. However, understanding its correct usage is crucial for expectant mothers. First, individuals must place the pads on the lower back. Then, they should adjust the setting level. They can undergo a TENS session for 20-30 minutes.

Intense contractions and discomfort in the lower abdomen and back characterise labour pain. These can occur at different stages of labour. Women generally find the pain to be unbearable. Hence, they search for effective methods to manage it. Medications can offer relief from pain, but they often come with potential side effects. Thus, alternatives, like TENS devices, are essential. The following sections will present what it is, its benefits, and how to use the machine in labour properly.

What Is a TENS Machine for Birth?

A TENS machine for birth is a handy device that lessens pain during labour. It is one of the methods of pain relief that does not require drugs or intrusive procedures. TENS units consist of electrode pads and a small battery-operated device that delivers electrical pain-relieving pulses to the body. The machine and patches are available in various types and sizes. Some models are wired, while some are cable-free.

Buying a TENS unit allows people to manage not just labour pain but also other acute or chronic pain issues. On the other hand, pregnant individuals can hire TENS machines for temporary use during pregnancy. They can utilise TENS with other pain management techniques, such as breathing exercises and movement. Subsequently, this makes it a versatile tool for women during labour.

TENS devices come with different modes and settings to customise the level of pain relief. Expectant mothers can adjust the intensity and frequency to find the most comfortable level. Moreover, they can select a pre-programmed mode specifically designed for labour pain. This ensures that TENS provides effective relief during childbirth.

How It Works

  • Pain gating – The TENS machine works on the principle of the Gate Control Theory of Pain. It suggests the electrical stimulation of the nerves can override and stop the sensation of pain.
  • Endorphin release – The stimulation of the nerves can trigger the production of endorphins. These are the natural painkillers of the body.
  • Better blood circulation – TENS improves blood flow by dilating blood vessels and increasing circulation to the pain site. This promotes oxygen and nutrient delivery to both the mother and baby.
  • Muscle relaxation – It can help relax the muscles in the back, reducing tension and discomfort.

A pregnant woman holding her baby bump while standing

Benefits of Using a TENS Machine for Birth

One of the key benefits of using a TENS machine for birth is the natural pain relief it provides. This can be particularly helpful during labour, as it can offer a drug-free way to manage the discomfort of contractions. In addition, TENS is user-friendly because it comes with easy-to-control settings. Individuals can operate it at home or in various locations.

Moreover, using TENS can empower women to feel more in control of their birthing experience. By being able to self-administer the TENS therapy, women can actively participate in managing their pain. Subsequently, it can have a positive impact on their overall birth experience. This sense of control and autonomy can contribute to a more positive and comfortable labour and delivery.

Furthermore, TENS is generally considered safe for both the mother and the baby. This means that women have the flexibility to use the device as part of their birth plan without having to rely solely on pharmaceutical pain relief options. Nevertheless, consulting a health provider is still essential to ensure the proper use and safety of the TENS machine.

Advantages Over Other Pain Relief Options

One advantage of TENS over other forms of pain relief is its ability to target specific pain areas. Oral medication or topical treatments can provide general pain relief. Meanwhile, people can apply TENS machines directly to the area of discomfort, offering more precise pain relief.

Additionally, TENS devices are versatile. It can alleviate pain during labour and can relax the muscles after childbirth. The gentle tingling sensations from TENS can help distract women from the discomfort. Also, TENS has minimal risks, unlike epidurals or narcotics. It does not involve any drugs, making them a safer option for the woman and the baby.

A step-by-step process on how to operate an app for TENS machines

How to Use a TENS Machine for Birth

Using a TENS machine for birth is straightforward. Begin by placing the electrode patches on the lower back. Make sure the device is turned off before positioning the pads. Then, turn the unit on and adjust the settings to a suitable level without causing discomfort. Individuals can control the electrical pulses using the machine buttons. Also, they can utilise the mobile app that comes with some wireless models.

Women can increase the intensity of the TENS machine as needed. Moreover, they can move the electrode pads to different areas on the back if they feel discomfort in a different location. However, individuals must remember that while TENS can provide effective pain relief for many women during labour, it may not work for everyone. Thus, discuss its use with a doctor first.

After 15-30 minutes, turn the TENS device off. Then, remove the electrodes from the skin. Remove the residues from the adhesive pads using a damp cloth or wipe. Store the TENS machine in a safe and dry place for future use. Overall, a TENS machine can be a valuable tool for managing the pain of contractions because it is easy to operate.

Safety Guidelines

There are several guidelines to follow when using TENS to ensure safety. Firstly, do not place the electrode pads directly on the spine because this can cause discomfort or pain. Instead, position them on either side of the spinal cord. Secondly, ensure the skin is clean and dry before applying the electrodes to ensure proper adhesion.

Thirdly, never attaching the pads to the abdomen is crucial because this can affect the baby. Lastly, never use the machine in water or while sleeping. Otherwise, there may be potential safety risks involved, such as electrical shocks and burns.


A TENS machine for birth is a non-invasive device. It uses low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate the nerves and stop the transmission of pain signals. TENS offers a drug-free alternative to traditional pain management methods. Consequently, it provides women with a sense of control and comfort during labour. They can purchase a unit or hire one for temporary use. This natural pain relief is generally safe, but exercising caution is still a priority to minimise risks.

TENS has been shown to alleviate discomfort, reduce the need for other pain medications, and contribute to a positive birthing experience. Its ease of use and portability make it an accessible option for women in labour. Pregnant individuals or their birth partners simply need to place the electrode pads on the pain site. Then, they can modify the settings or choose from different pre-set modes. Also, they must follow the safety guidelines to ensure its effectiveness.

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