What Is a TENS Machine?
A TENS machine is one very interesting, and little known, option for easing labor pains. Women who want to give birth without pain medications may find this to be a useful tool. The TENS machine is an electronic device that delivers electric currents in the area where you are experiencing pain. They are used for physical therapy with many areas of the body and have had much success. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation. It is a small device that fits easily into the client's palm and it comes with four pads. The pads have electrodes that are then connected by wires to the pulsar.
How Is It Used for Labor?
The pads are placed on your back in four specific locations. The pregnant woman then has complete control over the frequency and level of the current. The current is delivered through the battery operated pulsar to the electrodes and can range from very mild to quite dramatic. The feeling that the woman experiences is like that of pins and needles. The machine is supposed to affect how pain signals are transmitted to the brain. They also stimulate the body to produce extra endorphins, which are natural pain killers. The woman controls the machine and can set it as low or as high as desired and needed.
The Benefit of TENS for Labor
While the TENS machine doesn't completely mask the pain, it does help to alleviate it. It allows the laboring woman to feel a sense of control, as she can monitor the pulses herself. This method is completely drug free, allowing the laboring woman a medical free way to control pain during labor. There are no side effects for the woman or the baby whatsoever. There won't be any problems with breastfeeding or with after-effects for the baby or you. While using the TENS machine, the woman maintains her mobility and can work through the contractions in any way that she wants to. She can walk around and change positions. The TENS machine is inexpensive, and can be rented for a small fee from many companies online. Most sites say that they need three weeks notice, so it's important to find a company and to order the TENS by the 8th month. Once you've finished using the machine, you simply return it to the company.
The Disadvantages of TENS for Labor
One issue with the TENS machine is that is certainly can't be used in the shower. This means that a laboring woman will have to disconnect the pads before taking a shower or bath and then reconnect them afterwards. This is certainly not a large disadvantage, but more of an inconvenience. In addition, the TENS machine does not completely erase the pains of labor. It allows the woman to mask some of the pain, and to distract herself, but it won't take away the pain as some of the medical options for pain relief do.
If you are hoping to have a medication-free labor, the TENS machine might be a great addition for your labor. This clever tool might be just the thing to give you a feeling of control and a distraction from your pain during labor. It's certainly worth a try!