In this article, we will answer the question: Is a TENS machine useful for labor and your best options to deal with this pain. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot of these options.
Are you pregnant? Are you in search of something that will reduce your pain during labor?
You are not alone. Based on a survey done by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, out of ten mothers, nine said that they used pain management during labor. Using different methods to manage the pain helped them have a less stressful and easy journey towards motherhood.
One of the most prominent ways in use by many is the TENS machine during labor. This article will guide you to look into more about it and help you choose the best one out of many options seen around us.
Is A Tens Machine Useful For Labor And Your Best Options
Popularly known as TENS, the transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation unit is all about the small electric current generation, resulting in endorphins release.
Endorphins act as the body’s natural pain killers, so we experience relief from pain. In recent times we have seen many pregnant women using TENS machines during their labor as it keeps us drug-free.
One can start using TENS only in the early stages of labor contractions, and remember not to use it in the early stages of pregnancy. A pregnant woman can also start using TENS during her thirty-seventh week when she experiences lower back pain.
Many people widely use TENS machines to treat pain in the back as it gives huge relief to them. Suppose women in labor want to experience the benefits effectively. In that case, pregnant women have to use it early or in the first labor stage rather than during labor.
It is better to consider your doctor or physiotherapist if you have any history of miscarriage or abortion before you start using the machine. It is entirely safe to use a TENS machine for labor by pregnant women until and unless they have a pacemaker or any metal inserts inside their body.
How Should A Pregnant Woman Use The Pads Of The TENS Machine During Labor?
Using a TENS machine is very easy. You just have to turn the power button off and keep two pads of the TENS machine on either side of the spine near the bra strap level.
Keep the other two pads on the lower back slightly over the bottom, set the minor intensity, and switch it.
The to-be-mother can slowly increase the intensity based on her necessity and pain level because of contraction. She might need to take the help of someone to stick the pads to her back correctly.
When she turns on the machine, a slight tingling sensation is generated, and she will experience it. The feeling is because of the electric signal stimulation; thus, the pain signals will get blocked from reaching the brain. So she will experience relief from contraction.
One cannot see the comfort as soon as you use it; you must wait for at least half an hour to start experiencing relief. Suppose the woman experiences any form of discomfort and experiences more contractions. In that case, the machine should be turned off and removed immediately, and you should consult your ob-gyn immediately.
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Do TENS Machines Induce Contractions?
When you talk about TENS machines for labor, we can speak of two benefits: Relieving labor pain and inducing contractions. Usage of TENS machines in specific areas can cause labor contractions.
Some of those places are on the lower half of the leg, ankle, above the shoulders, and thumb. Avoid placing the pads on any of these places to avoid complications. When you experience more contractions when using a TENS machine, shut it off immediately and relax until the pain subsides.
We have seen the TENS machine’s basic details and functionality for pregnant women during labor. Let us now discuss our selection criteria to pick the suitable device for a pregnant woman to use during her labor.
Selection Criteria To Buy An Apt TENS Machine For Labor
As the machine has to be used by the pregnant woman, the primary criteria we consider are safety, size, portability, battery life, modes, and shelf life of the pads.
The machine which has a long-lasting battery will help them to use it for long hours.
The machine has to be portable where it can be everywhere by us. The pads used in the device must be of good quality and should have a longer life to use multiple times. You should opt for TENS machines that have low-intensity electrical impulses because safety is of utmost importance.
Out of our top choices, which we will give below, choose the apt one for you.
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Frequently Asked Questions
When should a pregnant woman not use the TENS machine?
Pregnant women must not use the machine during the early stage of pregnancy. She must not use one when she has broken skin while taking a bath, during the condition of epilepsy, having a heart condition, or using a pacemaker. Most importantly, if she experiences pain other than contractions in the pelvic or back, she must take the doctor’s suggestion before using the TENS machine.
What are the advantages of using TENS machines by pregnant women for labor?
It is very easy to use, and a doctor’s presence is not required to use it. It is compact, portable as well as safe. One need not be at a single place while using it; they can move around wearing it. It is controllable by self and has no side effects on the mother or the baby, and can be used even during labor at home.
Do we have any disadvantages of TENS machines?
The TENS machine for labor has been widely used by pregnant women to ease labor pain, but it has some disadvantages. The major being one needs the help of someone to place the pads correctly on the back. There are instances where it could not give huge relief during the last stages of labor when compared to the early stages.
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Best TENS Machines For Labor
#1 NuMedics TENS Unit Machine
- Modes: It comes with twenty modes as well as with TENS and PMS qualities. It has a good display which helps us to change modes easily. It also lets us set intensity levels easily. Two different modes can be set for two different channels in this machine.
- Battery life: Once charged, it stays up to twenty long hours. We can use a USB port or wall charger to charge it again. This will help us to work on the pain in regular intervals.
- Compact size: It comes in a very small size and is also provided with a cover to protect it and easily be carried everywhere.
- Two channels: It is provided with two channels that can be easily used, and intensity levels can also be set based on necessity. Options are provided to choose a separate mode for each channel.
#2 MEDVICE Rechargeable TENS Machine
- Modes: This machine provides us with sixteen modes and twenty intensity levels. The modes and intensity levels can be switched quickly and used by us. Provision of these many intensity levels will help to work on both acute and chronic pains.
- Battery life: Once completely charged, the machine runs for ten hours, giving enough time to relax and work on the pain. It also has a mechanism to show a low battery so that we can recharge it.
- Pads: The pads used are of high grade, and the gel used to help in sticking is of high quality. The TENS machine pads can be cleaned easily and can be used multiple times.
- Two channels: The machine has two channels that can be used in two different locations with two different modes on the body at the same time.
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#3 NURSAL EMS TENS Machine
- Modes: It has six main massage modes, which have sixteen sub-modes in them. We can pick the main as well as sub-mode apt for us easily.
- Battery life: It has a long-lasting battery. The battery, once charged, runs for twenty hours and can be connected to a USB port or wall for charging.
- Pads: We are given eight pairs of pads that can be used and replaced. We can use them multiple times.
- Compact Size: It is very small and is portable. It can be carried with us when we go outside.
#4 HAUSBELL Dual Channel TENS Machine
- Modes: This machine provides us with ten massage levels and twenty intensity levels. The modes we need can be easily changed and used. The intensity level can be set based on the seriousness of the pain to address it effectively.
- Battery life: When you charge the battery completely, you can continuously use it for ten years. This can be carried along wherever you go as the battery won’t drain faster. It can be connected to a USB port, power bank, or wall charger to charge it.
- Pads: the pads used have a long shelf life and can be used multiple times. The pads can be cleaned and reused very easily. Add some drops of water before and after using the pads to increase its life.
- Compact size: It comes in a very small size and is portable. It can be carried with us around easily.
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#5 TENS Unit and EMS Combination TENS machine
- Mode: The machine provides us with twelve modes and twenty intensity levels which can be changed and opted for easily.
- Battery life: It has a good battery life, and the device shuts off by itself when not in use, thus saving the battery.
- Two channels: It is provided with two channels which can be changed easily based on use. We can use the channels simultaneously with two different modes on two different body locations.
- Pads: This machine has four electrode pads with a long shelf life, and the pads are of good quality and can be used multiple times.
#6 TruMedic TENS Machine
- Mode: It comes with significant modes like massage, knead and beat; these can be easily changed, and intensity levels can be set. Sub modes are provided under these major modes.
- Size: It comes in a very small compact size and can be carried wherever we go.
- Pads: The pads in this machine are very effective and target the pains effectively. For it to work correctly, placing the pads correctly on the body is essential.
- Easy to use: It looks like a television remote and can be used easily, even by first-time users. It has a large screen and big buttons which make it comfortable to understand and use this machine.
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There can be no other simpler way to get rid of pain than a TENS machine. Its non-invasive approach and instant solution make it one of the best devices to relieve body pains.
This article has selected the best TENS machine for labor based on size, portability, battery life, modes, and shelf life of the pads.
In our opinion, the is the best TENS machine for labor. It has an excellent battery life and a very good number of modes which you can use. It is very easy to carry this machine. You can use two channels at two places simultaneously.
The MEDVICE Rechargeable Tens Unit Muscle Stimulator, 2nd Gen 16 Modes & 8 Upgraded Pads for Natural Pain Relief & Management, FDA Cleared Electric Pulse Impulse Mini Massager Machine is another great choice. It meets all the primary criteria of battery life, shelf-life of pads, and multiple modes. This makes it an apt choice to buy for pregnant women for labor. The gel used will help the pads to stick on tightly and not fall off sooner.
Suppose you are looking for a value for money option. In that case, you can also consider the TruMedic TENS Electronic Pulse Unit & 4 Electrode Pads - For Muscle Stiffness, Soreness, Aches & Pains, Perfect for Relaxing Tight Muscles & Nerves for Electrotherapy Pain Management (PL-009), which offers great value and features at a very reasonable price point.
The most intriguing part is that the TENS machine can also be of help to reduce pain from migraine, plantar fasciitis, neck pain, arthritis pain, knee pain and even period pain. Read on for your best options.
While we make every effort to provide updated and correct information, the advice given in this article and website should not be construed as “medical advice.” Please consult with your physician or medical practitioner before using any TENS machine. Each individual may have unique issues, and your medical practitioner is the best person to decide the best TENS machine for your case.