A Personal Account with a TENS Machine
I recently gave birth to my fifth son. Having used natural childbirth for all of my previous births, I was surprised by how nervous I was going into this labor. The week before I delivered, someone recommended that I try out a TENS machine. Having never heard of this, I started to explore what it was. What an amazing discovery! I used the TENS machine for the majority of my delivery, and it was a fantastic device. I felt a sense of control during the labor, because I was able to adjust the knobs as I desired, to experience more or less of the currents as I needed it. It also gave me something to focus upon and to do during the long hours of labor. Having said all of this, what is a TENS machine, and what does it do?
Using a TENS Machine
Women who want to birth naturally have many options for working through the pain. Guided imagery is one way to distract your attention from the pain. Moving positions, taking a shower, working on a birthing ball, and many others can help as well. One item that not many people know about, but that can truly help during labor, is a TENS machine.
This machine is electronic and it delivers electric currents to the area where you are experiencing pain. It stands for Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation and is very often used by physical therapists to alleviate pain in a specific area of a client's body. The device is quite small, fitting easily into the palm of your hand, and it comes with four pads. The pads have electrodes that are connected by wires to the pulsar which is battery operated. You place the pads on your back in specific places and then use the hand controls to give yourself electric currents to the location where you've placed the pads. The currents range from very mild and barely detectable to quite dramatic and pulsating.
What Does It Do For Labor?
The feeling that comes through these pads is like pins and needles. The way the TENS works is that it affects how pain signals get transmitted to your brain and it stimulates your body to produce extra endorphins, which are natural pain killers. You control the machine and can set it as low or as high as you desire and need.
Ten Benefits of TENS
The TENS machine allows the laboring woman to feel a sense of control. It helps to mask the pain of the contractions while simultaneously distracting the laboring woman from her contractions. It's a medical free way to control pain during labor. There are no drugs involved with the machine at all - and no after effects to either the mother or the baby. You retain your mobility while using a TENS, and can work with your contractions by walking around and changing positions. It's not very expensive to rent a TENS machine and there are many sites online where you can find labor TENS for rent. Once you're finished using it, you simply return it to the company.
If you find this idea interesting, it's important to look into renting a TENS machine about a month before delivery. Most sites say that they take about three weeks to order, process and ship. If you're hoping for a natural birth and a sense of control during your labor, this is a clever and unique tool that's certainly worth a try. Good luck!