Pregnancy and childbirth are beautiful and exciting times for most women. However, they can also come with various uncomfortable sensations. From back pain to muscle cramps, pregnancy can negatively affect the body. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, or TENS for pregnancy, is a safe and non-invasive pain management option that can help reduce these painful symptoms and improve overall comfort. For example, TENS machines can help alleviate these pains by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
TENS therapy is a safe and effective alternative to medication for pain management, which can be especially essential during pregnancy when most drugs are not advisable. It is vital to note that TENS machines should only be used during pregnancy under the guidance of a medical professional. This article will talk about how TENS can help with pregnancy, essential guidelines and safety precautions for using TENS.
Benefits of TENS During Pregnancy
TENS therapy machines can be a convenient and efficient safe pain management option for pregnant women experiencing a wide range of painful symptoms. From alleviating pain to improving stress management, TENS for pregnancy can help improve overall comfort and promote a positive labour experience. In addition, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using TENS or any other treatment option during pregnancy. TENS offers users a wide range of benefits.
Firstly, TENS therapy machines may help improve blood flow and oxygenation to the targeted area, aiding rehabilitation and reducing swelling and inflammation. In particular, this is useful for pregnant women who may experience swelling in their legs and feet due to increased pressure. Secondly, the experience can be stressful and overwhelming at times. TENS units can help reduce stress by releasing endorphins, which can promote feelings of relaxation.
Thirdly, TENS for pregnancy can be used during the early stages of labour to help manage pain and lessen the need for medications. Therefore, TENS machines can help women have a more comfortable and positive labour experience. Lastly, TENS is a non-invasive pain relief option that does not require risk or invasive procedures. As a result, they are generally safe for both the mother and the baby when using them correctly.
What Other Conditions Can TENS Treat?
TENS therapy machines can help and benefit pregnant women. In addition, TENS therapy can also effectively reduce painful symptoms from acute or chronic conditions. Therefore, it is the best alternative to medications. These include treating the symptoms of the following:
Guidelines for using TENS for Pregnancy
As for any medical device, following the manual for proper use is always best. When using TENS during pregnancy, it is vital to follow these guidelines. Firstly, always consult with a medical professional before using a TENS machine. In addition, consulting with a professional can help you determine if this treatment is safe for you and to receive advice on how to use it properly.
Secondly, not all TENS units are created equal. Ensure to choose a TENS device for use during pregnancy and meet safety and quality standards. The best example is the iTENS from iTENS Australia. In addition, the iTENS is an FDA-cleared wireless TENS machine. Finally, be aware that the electrode pad placement is vital to the efficacy of the treatment. Place the electrodes on the skin near the painful area.
For example, for back pain, place the electrodes on either side of the spine, while for pelvic pain, place the electrodes on the lower back and the pubic bone. Lastly, TENS for pregnancy should have a comfortable stimulation level, which should be strong enough to feel but not so intense that it causes pain or discomfort. The frequency and duration of the TENS treatment will depend on the intensity of the pain and the person’s response to treatment.
The Advantages of TENS
TENS machines are compact, portable, battery-operated devices that provide low-voltage electrical currents that stimulate the nerves to reduce pain. Here are some of the advantages of TENS therapy during pregnancy:
- can be used in combination with other pain-relieving methods
- easy to operate
- enables users to stay active
Precautions for Using TENS for Pregnancy
When using TENS during pregnancy, it is essential to take some precautions to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby. Firstly, avoid placing TENS therapy machines on the abdomen or lower back after 37 weeks. This is because, after the 37th week of pregnancy, TENS could stimulate contractions and potentially induce labour. In addition, avoid placing TENS near the head, throat, or neck.
Secondly, do not place the TENS pads on broken or irritated skin. Placing TENS on broken skin could cause further damage or infection. Thirdly, medical professionals recommend not using TENS in or near water. In addition, using TENS in water, such as in a bath or shower, can increase the risk of accidental electric shock. Fourthly, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the TENS machine, including proper placement and adjusting the intensity settings, is essential.
Lastly, it would help to remember that TENS should not hurt. Immediately discontinue TENS for pregnancy if there is any discomfort or pain. If TENS causes the pain to worsen, it is vital to stop and consult with a medical professional. It enables pregnant women to have control over their pain relief. Furthermore, only use the machine for its intended purpose and when necessary. TENS can be a safe and effective pain relief option during pregnancy when appropriately used.
Proper Use of TENS Machines for Pregnancy
- Your obstetrician, midwife, or other medical professionals will advise you where to place the electrode pads.
- Start with 30 – 60 minutes sessions initially and increase the time if there are no issues.
- Ensure the device is off before you remove the electrode pads from your skin.
While TENS therapy machines are generally considered safe, improper use or overuse can cause further harm and damage to nerves and muscles. Therefore, pregnant women should always consult with their medical provider before using TENS for pregnancy. This practice will help as certain medical conditions may require caution or contraindicate the use of TENS therapy for pain relief. Moreover, pregnant women should take all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both themselves and their developing babies.
In conclusion, TENS machines can be a safe and efficient pain management option for pregnant women experiencing discomfort and pain. However, it is vital to use them under the guidance of a medical professional and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure safe and effective use. If you are unsure about your pain relief plans, it is always best to consult your doctor.