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How good are tens machines?

17 messages
06/07/2008 at 21:28
I am expecting my second baby in november (hopefully a homebirth) and i am considering hiring or buying a tens machine this time round...just wondering if anyone has had one and how effective you found it?
06/07/2008 at 21:39


I used TENS during labour and I hated it!! Actually made me feel worse, as on top of contraction pain i felt like someone kept poking me. To be fair, my oh kept turning it up which didnt help. Took it off after about 20 mins and went on to gas and air.

Good luck. Em x

07/07/2008 at 07:45

Thanks for the advice emma...I was definately going to have the gas and air again!

07/07/2008 at 17:35

I loved the TENS machine, I found it very relaxing actually.  In the end I needed an epidural as had to have an emergency section    but I preferred the TENS to gas & air which made me sob uncontrollably!  I rented mine from Boots, their service was so simple and easy to use; I would recommend them and a TENS to anyone. 

Good luck with the home birth flower.

Bev xx

07/07/2008 at 19:20
I hired a TENS machine and found it invaluable. I know people who took theirs off and said they did not realise how much it was helping until they took it off. I did the whole thing (labour!!) on TENS and gas and air so it must have worked for me!!! I hated the gas and air as I felt completely out of control and laughed hysterically the whole time, I would have prefered just the TENS. You can rent them from Boots, Mothercare or direct from the makers. My midwife gave me a discount code for the one she recommended. I have also just noticed this website has an offer on rental that would be worth checking out.
07/07/2008 at 23:38

Is the TENS machine valuable in pain other than labour pain?

08/07/2008 at 09:26

Yes, you can use the TENS machines for standard pain as well as labour pain.  You can use a labour TENS for general pain, but you can't use a general TENS for labour pain.  (Labour ones have a boost button and special programmes which standard TENS don't have).

Emma, did you know that the pain relief builds up with TENS?  It can take up to half an hour to have an effect which is why you're supposed to start using them from the very beginning, so that it has a chance to take effect.  Maybe that's why you didn't feel it was doing anything?
08/07/2008 at 15:32

38wks now and not sure I know what to do with my Tens machine when the time comes..........

I bought a tens machine with a boost button which I understand you push when you have a contraction then again when it's over.  However the instructions do not really explain the dials (pulse rate, pulse width and two intensity dials) can any one explain what they should be set on for labour and if there is any particular order in which you turn them up! 

08/07/2008 at 15:56

Robyn. No, I wasnt told that the relief builds up. Think even if I had though I would have taken it off. Read on here that lots of women do find it a big help, but I really didnt get on with it. Had never actually planned to use it anyway, it was suggested by my m/w as a way of delaying starting the gas and air.

Em x

08/07/2008 at 17:44

My friend swore by hers!  Until her husband told her that the pads hadn't been connected for the last 3 hours!  Maybe it is like a safety blanket, and as long as you think it is offering you pain relief, you believe it!

MJ x 

08/07/2008 at 20:49


I used a Mothercare Tens machine when my wee boy was born in Dec and it was brilliant for me. I really didn't want to have to spend too long in hospital before the birth so in that respect it allowed me to stay at home longer that I think I could have without it. I ended up being 9cm dilated when I eventually went in and my son was born a couple of hrs later with some gas and air to help at the hospital so it was perfect for me. I think it's maybe more of a distraction than actual pain relief but it's definitely worth a go. 

Kathleen I just started on the lowest settings and kept turnin it up and changing the settings to try different ones. I had it on for a few hours so there's (usually!) plenty of time to play around with it and see what you prefer. Think that's what made the time pass quickly and kept my mind off it. It will definitely be top of my list if I'm lucky enough to get a baby no 2 x 

08/07/2008 at 22:19
can i ask what it geels a bit of a wierd question but one ive always wondered!
09/07/2008 at 13:44

Hi Lauren

 Thanks for that,  heres hoping I get a birth just like yours, well thats my plan anyway (in and out).  I wasn't brave enough to say lets have a home birth but I really don't want to go to hospital and as for staying in hospital thats my worst nightmare.

Good luck with getting baby no 2, birth no 1 couldn't have been that bad if you are already thinking of another one. 

11/07/2008 at 17:58


Joesmummy. The way TENS feels depends on the setting you have it on, but for me it felt like there was a tingling moving all through me with pokes in the back every now and then. Im guessing that was some sort of pulse setting, like others have said if you want to use it just give it a go and see how you get on.

Kathleen. I was like you for my birth. Knew i didnt want to have her at home, but at same time wanted to be at hospital as short a time as possible. In the end I was there 24 hrs, but still felt like a lifetime. M/W wanted to keep me in for that time to monitor for any infection as my water had broken 2 dyas before I went into labour. After a short sleep straight after birth I was itching to go home. Knew me and bubs were just fine, and being there just for 24 hrs was SO BORING!!!! Couldnt wait to get her home and settled in.

Good luck. Em x

14/07/2008 at 19:04

Hi Emma

We must be crazy but my husband and I have just had a sudden change of mind at 39 weeks to have a home birth!! I've got the lead midwife coming over on tue with her pack and paperwork.  We decided that we are not far from the hospital 5 mins drive max.  and the midwives that we have spoken to about it said that any emergency that happens in the hospital will take 30mins to deal with so the same could be said for a homebirth emergency in our situation, she also said that if we change our mind we can go into hospital whenever we decide we need to, so if we were planning to stay at home as long as possible we really have nothing to loose.  Wish us luck!

14/07/2008 at 22:48

I also hadnt planned using the tens machine.  When I got to hospital, the midwife suggested using one due to the 'back pain' I was having.  She said later she knew my baby was back to back and it would help.  I used it along with gas and air until the pain got too bad.  I realised it was time for the epidural when I went to press the boost button during a particularly painful contraction and realised it had been on boost for ages.  The only tip I have is to make sure when they are removing it that your oh doesnt accidently turn the dials to high instead of off.  Holy mackeral....... that thing sure packs a punch lol

Good luck!!!

15/07/2008 at 16:33
i found it helped for a short period of time, when the pain was not too intense, and then was no help at all for the last 4/5 hours. So it did help a little, but I personally would not buy one in the future as I think I would have been fine for that period without one.
Yues and make sure the dials arent up too high when you start off - Ouch!!
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