Childbirth is one of the most important events for women. There are many things to consider when expecting a baby. Preparing for delivery and managing labour pain is one. Even though each woman’s experience may vary, you can expect labour pain significantly. Thus, expectant mothers arrange various methods to deal with labour. It includes breathing techniques, light massages, and water therapy. One of the techniques that many women use is electrotherapy through a TENS machine. If you are looking for a safe and natural process to manage pain, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is an excellent solution. A TENS machine for labour is a helpful device to minimise pain and discomfort during delivery.
Managing Labour Pain
During labour, the muscles in the uterus contract, which helps push the baby out. The contractions cause a dull ache in the abdomen and lower back. It moves in a wave-like motion from the top of the uterus to the bottom, along with pressure in the pelvis. Thus, many women describe labour pain as intense menstrual cramps. Fortunately, a TENS machine for labour is one of the practical methods to ease the discomfort. iTENS Australia offers a safe and efficient pain alleviation device through the iTENS TENS machine. The iTENS is a modern-day electrotherapy device for relieving various pain types or conditions.
If you plan to use a TENS machine for labour, it helps to acquire a unit beforehand. In addition, you may have to familiarise the device’s functions to use it effectively. Your doctor or midwife can assist you, especially placing the electrodes when early labour starts. They can also advise what machine suits you best. The iTENS is a suitable device you can use during delivery and post-birth. Moreover, identifying the signs of labour can give you a heads up on when to reach for the TENS unit. The early symptoms include:
- Strong, frequent contractions
- The mucus plug passes
- Intense belly and lower back pain
- Your water breaks (amniotic fluid sac)
TENS Machine for Labour Pain
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a type of electrotherapy that applies low-voltage electrical currents to the body. The mild electrical impulses stimulate the nerves to reduce pain. TENS is valuable for people with chronic conditions or acute pain or injuries. A TENS machine can help minimise symptoms of an illness or soothe sore muscles that cause pain. However, many people wonder if you can use a TENS machine for labour pain. Many studies show that electrical stimulation does not harm the mother and baby. It is also vital to consult your doctor if a TENS unit is suitable for you.
Using a TENS machine in labour can minimise discomfort significantly. iTENS Australia offers wireless iTENS, a therapy device for fast and convenient pain relief. TENS therapy reduces pain levels under two main functions:
- Pain Gating – the Gate Control Theory of Pain suggests that non-painful sensations can override pain. In addition, the nerve fibres in the spinal cord act as a “gate” that opens and closes according to stimuli. Therefore, the electrical currents from a TENS machine stimulate the sensory nerves to block pain messages from reaching the brain.
- Endorphin Release – TENS at a low frequency induces the production of endorphins. Endorphins are natural chemicals that react with the receptors in the brain and inhibit pain perception. Thus, they are known as the body’s natural painkillers.
Managing TENS Frequency during Labour
TENS therapy involves the use of modulated frequency to activate the gate controllers in the spinal cord or induce endorphin release. The pulse rate or frequency is the number of electrical pulses in one second. It is measured in Hertz (Hz). Each individual may attain pain relief in various frequencies. Therefore, there is no single setting that works the same for everybody. Using a TENS machine for labour can help manage strong cramping sensations during contractions. The wireless iTENS have treatment modes readily available for easing pain in the abdomen or lower back. Furthermore, you may also easily manage the TENS settings manually to find optimal relief. The iTENS smartphone app enables you to control the level of stimulation through the following:
- Burst mode – the impulses are delivered at two pulse trains per second (2 Hz).
- Continuous mode – the impulses are steady, and the interval rate is fixed.
- Modulation mode – the pulse rate is set from 50-100 Hz, while the pulse duration shifts from 200 to 6 microseconds (μs) every six seconds. The modulation mode repeats this cycle automatically.
Using the iTENS Wireless TENS Machine for Pain Relief
Many TENS machines for labour in hospitals or clinics are standard devices using wired electrodes. The push-button device connects to electrode pads through lead cables. Meanwhile, the iTENS from iTENS Australia is the world’s first FDA-cleared, true wireless TENS therapy device for pain relief. It utilises wireless technology to deliver adequate nerve stimulation in the target area. Additionally, using a wireless TENS machine for labour pain helps reduce pain in the lower back. You can use it while moving around without inhibiting movement. The wireless electrodes of iTENS are Bluetooth-capable and can seamlessly pair with a smartphone app on iOS or Android devices. Therefore, using a wireless TENS than the standard unit is faster and more convenient.
The iTENS App
The iTENS companion app comes with multiple pre-set treatments for various pain conditions. Using the app lets you manage pain efficiently by selecting from the menu options. Additionally, the iTENS app has user-friendly features for fast and easy access. To use the iTENS TENS machine for labour, launch the app on your smartphone and select from the pre-set programs. For example, you may choose the therapy for abdominal cramping or lower back pain. You may also use the manual mode to adjust the stimulation accordingly. In particular, the burst mode delivers an extra surge of power during peak contractions. This method allows you to control the level of pain relief.
Features of the Wireless iTENS Machine
The iTENS wireless TENS machine has innovative wing-shaped pads to conveniently fit most pain areas in the body. It enables easy pad placement on hard-to-reach areas like the back. Therefore, a wireless TENS machine for labour pain is the best option. Additionally, the iTENS wireless TENS device has the following features:
- Gel pads – the iTENS uses gel pads that adhere firmly to the skin. In addition, it is a highly conductive laser-printed silver wing to deliver adequate stimulation.
- Customisable settings – the app allows you to choose programs based on body part, pain condition, or make a custom manual setting. You can save the customised program and access it for subsequent uses.
- Interchangeable pads – the TENS pads are reusable and interchangeable. You may use different pad sizes depending on the treatment area. For example, for easing lower back pain in labour, the iTENS large wings are suitable. Furthermore, the replacement pads are low-cost, making the iTENS cost-efficient.
- Rechargeable battery – the wireless iTENS uses lithium-ion batteries for long-lasting use. The device can last for 24 hours of use, depending on the intensity. Additionally, rechargeable batteries do not need constant replacement.
- Optional Bluetooth connectivity – you may use the iTENS for pain relief as a standalone device or control the unit through the app using a Bluetooth connection.
TENS Pad Placement for Labour Pain
The TENS pad placement is critical for effective pain relief. Particularly, the lower back bears the stress during labour. Thus, placing the electrode pads on the back can significantly minimise discomfort. However, use extra caution when using a TENS machine for labour. You can position one set of iTENS electrode pads approximately 4cm on either side of the spine below the bra line. Then place another set on the lower back above the sacral dimple area of the buttocks. In addition, it is essential not to place the TENS pads over the belly or abdomen. A birthing partner can put the pads for you, following the guidelines above. The wireless iTENS device makes it easy to place the electrode pads without difficulties.
After positioning the TENS pads correctly, you may use the iTENS TENS machine for labour. Switch on the device and choose the therapy from the app. In starting the TENS treatment, it is best to start with the lowest intensity. Then, you may gradually increase the settings as your body accommodates the stimulation. For example, when the contractions get stronger or longer, you can increase the impulse rates to get the most effective relief. Alternatively, you can use the burst and continuous functions for managing contractions. However, make sure not to turn the intensity or frequency too high to avoid causing further discomfort.
When to Use a TENS Machine
Anyone can facilitate TENS therapy any time when pain strikes. Symptoms from health conditions may occur randomly, and a portable TENS machine is efficient in relieving pain. However, using TENS is not advisable before 37 weeks of pregnancy. On the other hand, healthcare experts advise using a TENS machine for labour when regular contractions begin. TENS is beneficial in the first and second stages of labour rather than starting during established labour. Starting the therapy at the beginning of labour gives time for the body to produce endorphins and relieve pain. Furthermore, the body feels a tingling sensation while using the device. The constant electrical pulses also distract from intense cramps and lower back pain.
Benefits of Wireless TENS Machine
Many women opt for natural methods to manage labour pain. Home remedies or treatments such as walking, massage, water therapy, or changing positions can relieve pain. Additionally, electrotherapy devices like a TENS machine for labour can minimise the need for taking analgesics or oral painkillers. Furthermore, TENS therapy provides the following benefits:
- Portability – TENS machines are lightweight and compact-sized devices. They are easy to carry or store in a bag. Thus, you may readily conduct TENS therapy whenever you need it. Moreover, the iTENS maximises portability by using wireless electrodes. Additionally, iTENS is less bulky than standard wired TENS units.
- Mobility – with the wireless electrode pads, you can move around without limiting the range of motion. Standard TENS machines can hinder movements due to wires. Users of wired TENS often express the inconvenience of messy or tangled wires before they can use the machine.
- Easy pad placement – wireless TENS machines are faster and easier to use. To use the iTENS, peel off the protective cover of the pads and place them on the pain site.
Labour Pain Relief: Buy or Hire a TENS Machine?
Many women consider using a TENS machine for labour to manage pain without the aid of drugs. As such, doctors recommend TENS therapy by hiring or buying a TENS machine. It is important to check the availability of TENS devices as not all hospitals have on-hand units. Additionally, some clinics offer a TENS machine for rent to help manage labour pain. You may arrange for a TENS machine when your due date is near. Then, you may return the unit after delivery or the rent period. However, you must ensure to return the device on time to avoid late fees or charges. Alternatively, purchasing a TENS machine is more cost-efficient in the long run.
Modern portable TENS machines are intended for single-person use. Buying a personal device, like the iTENS, enables you to manage pain efficiently whenever and wherever you need it. Moreover, the TENS pads are reusable, and you can use them for many pain types. Therefore, you can use a TENS machine for labour and after childbirth for general pain relief. In looking for a TENS device, you may consider the following:
- Ease of use
- Number of treatment modes or programs available
- Intensity levels
- Wire or wireless electrodes
- Replaceable gel pads
- Battery unit (disposable or rechargeable battery)
Can You Use a TENS Machine after Labour?
TENS therapy is a versatile pain management method for various pain types and conditions. It is best to buy a TENS machine that you can use for other purposes. The wireless iTENS is a suitable TENS machine for labour because it reduces pain while allowing flexibility and mobility. However, aside from labour pain, iTENS is also beneficial for treating acute and chronic pain. Many women continue to use a TENS machine for post-partum recovery. Particularly, TENS therapy can help with the following:
- Uterine contractions – After-pains or contractions are common after delivery. It signals the involution process or the shrinking of the uterus to the pre-pregnancy size and shape.
- Pelvic floor disorder – urinary and fecal incontinence due to the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. The mild electric currents from a TENS machine can stimulate and tone the muscles. As a result, it helps activate weak muscle fibres and regain control.
Are There Risks to Using a TENS Machine?
Are there any risks or side effects to TENS? For most people, TENS therapy is a safe treatment for pain with little to no risks. The electrical charges from a TENS unit are proven not to cause damage or lasting harm to the body. Moreover, using a TENS machine for labour is safe for the mother and baby. However, ensure correct pad placement for safe and effective treatment. Generally, do not place the TENS electrode pads directly over the joints (kneecap, elbow, shoulder, ankle) and the spinal cord. Also, do not place the pads anywhere on the head, in front and sides of the neck to avoid seizures. Additionally, avoid placing the pads on open wounds and irritated or numb skin.
A TENS machine for labour may not be suitable if you have an irritable uterus, a history of early miscarriage, previous abortion, or complications with the current pregnancy. In addition, refrain from using TENS if you have cancer, heart disease, and electrical implants like a cardiac pacemaker. Always consult your doctor for advice before using any medical equipment or stimulator machines like TENS. Furthermore, some people may be allergic to the TENS pads and develop redness or irritation while using the device. When this happens, you may need to take a short break and alter the pad placement. Conveniently, iTENS from iTENS Australia has hypoallergenic gel pads that minimise the likelihood of harsh skin reactions.
Ensuring Safety During TENS Therapy
Like any procedure or medical device, the proper use of a TENS machine for labour is vital for safe treatment. Fortunately, TENS devices are easy to operate. You can buy a TENS unit without prescriptions and use it anytime to relieve pain. For labour pain relief, you may use TENS when contractions get stronger, longer, and more frequent. Meanwhile, people with chronic pain may conduct TENS therapy 3 to 4 times a day. A session may last for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the condition or severity of the pain. Additionally, allot a 20-minute break between sessions to avoid overstimulation. Likewise, do not use a TENS machine while driving, sleeping, or in the shower. You may use TENS therapy while doing exercises to help ease the discomfort. However, remove the device first before getting in a birth pool.
TENS Machine: Other Uses
Aside from using a TENS machine for labour, it is also beneficial for treating symptoms of other health or body conditions. Many people with chronic ailments favour TENS therapy to reduce symptoms without drugs. Similarly, patients recovering from post-surgery or injury can benefit from TENS. TENS therapy is best for musculoskeletal pain due to overuse or nerve pain due to an underlying health condition. It also boosts blood circulation, which helps soothe sore or swollen muscles. The wireless iTENS features programs for specific body parts and common health conditions for easy access. The iTENS is valuable for symptomatic treatment of the following:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Diabetes-related neuropathy
- Peripheral artery disease
Advantages of TENS Therapy vs Other Treatments
TENS therapy is one of the safest and cost-efficient methods of pain management. Having a TENS machine for labour and other pain conditions helps reduce symptoms at the onset of pain. Moreover, the iTENS wireless TENS unit from iTENS Australia offers additional safety measures and efficient treatment by utilising Bluetooth-capable electrodes. TENS therapy also has the following advantages over other pain relief methods:
- Drug-free – TENS therapy is a non-drug and toxic-free alternative for oral drugs. It lessens pain symptoms without the risks or adverse side effects of medicines or painkillers.
- Non-invasive – the electrode pads are placed on the skin near the affected area to reduce pain. Unlike other methods, it is painless and non-intrusive.
- Convenient – TENS machines are portable and easy to use. You may carry the device to help you manage pain while you are working. Therefore, it does not hinder normal activities. It also reduces the need to see a physician regularly. Additionally, a wireless TENS device like the iTENS is discreet when worn under clothes.
- Controlled – unlike oral analgesics, you can control the level of pain relief by adjusting the TENS intensity or frequency. As a result, it lets you find the stimulation level that is most effective for you.
Getting a Wireless TENS for Labour and Other Pain
There are many options for getting a TENS machine for labour and other pain. It is essential to get a device that can support intense cramping sensations or pain during peak contractions. It is also important that a TENS machine can relieve many pain types or disorders. This is because many women may need pain relief while recovering from delivery. Therefore, getting a personal pro-grade device like the wireless iTENS is a worthwhile investment. It provides efficient and hassle-free pain relief during labour and helps ease other conditions. It can also reduce painful muscle spasms and facilitate faster rehabilitation of damaged nerves.
A wireless TENS machine for labour is an excellent solution to manage pain and discomfort. The iTENS wireless TENS unit from iTENS Australia is FDA-cleared and recommended by healthcare professionals. Furthermore, you can use a TENS machine readily at home for a home birth or other pain conditions. They are light and compact, making them hassle-free to use. It also does not interfere with other pain management procedures like exercise. Therefore, you may use a TENS machine even while being active. You can purchase the iTENS and its complete accessories directly at iTENS Australia online.