What is labour TENS?

You may have heard TENS mentioned by your midwife during the ‘pain relief’ part of your antenatal classes.

Labour TENS is a natural and safe pain relief option that puts mums-to-be in charge of their pain during labour.

The machines are now easy to hire from anywhere in Australia from Labour TENS, founded by mum of two, nurse and TENS specialist Heather Greer. After a “highly medical” birth with her first child, Labour TENS founder Heather decided to have her second baby at home and she managed her labour pain with a TENS machine alone. Her positive birth experience inspired her to make Labour TENS more widely available.

A Labour Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machine is a light, portable battery-powered unit that sends electrical pulses to the skin via pads that adhere to the back.

TENS works by stimulating the nerves that effectively block pain from the uterus. It’s a simple, yet effective method of managing pain during labour and it means women can choose a natural, drug-free birth or combine Labour TENS with other pain relief options.

Heather says, “This gives women a whole range of choices when they’re considering how to manage pain during birth. They can use Labour TENS in early labour and continue to use it in hospital. If they decide to use (other) medicinal pain relief, too it can reduce the drugs mums need, so both mother and baby suffer fewer side effects during and after birth.”

If you have friends who’ve given birth in Europe or the UK, many of them will have used a machine during labour as the technology is a popular choice for women in the northern hemisphere.

Two settings for pain relief

There are two pre-programmed settings: a ‘background mode’ designed to help women feel relaxed and in control of their pain and the boost mode, which gives the mum a continuous strong pulse to help her through each contraction. “TENS is best used in the early stages of labour”, Heather says. “It also tends to be more effective if the stimulation is turned to the point where it is ‘nearly’ uncomfortable”.

Heather says her formal TENS training and personal experience means she is able to give pregnant mums the information and support they need when hiring a Labour TENS machine. “It’s a really important part of the service. You can find local suppliers who have the machines but they’re often not designed for labour and suppliers are unsure how to use them or help with the quite specific challenges of labour,” Heather says.

Advantages of using TENS

  • Drug free pain control
  • Can be used with other pain relief methods
  • Instant and long-lasting pain relief
  • There is no harm to the baby
  • It’s safe and easy to use at home or in hospital
  • Non-invasive giving freedom to move around
  • Proven up to 80% effective for reducing labour pain
  • No side effects or drowsiness
The mum controls the pulses with the control button

For more information visit www.labourtens.com.au