How to Use a TENS Machine
Congratulations on choosing to rent a TENS Machine! You are going to love the pain relief and positive sensations it provides! Lots of women find that it provides enough relief from the pressure and cramping during active labour to avoid pain medications. Using it to avoid or delay an epidural can be a healthy choice for you and your baby.
This brief video shous some of its benefits.
The best time to start using the TENS machine is in early labour. That gives the endorphins (your body's own morphine) a chance to build up. Plus, the more you keep your discomfort manageable, the easier it is to cope as labour intensifies. If the pain gets too high, its harder to bring it back down. Remember, you can use your TENS machine anytime and place, even when you are sleeping. You only need to take it off to get in the shower or bath, or if you get an epidural. You can continue using it if you are using Entonox, Morphine or other narcotics for pain.
Before using your rented TENS Machine, please read the instructions and safety precautions in the user manual. It also outlines the three different program modes that the device has and when you may want to use each one. Some women prefer to use Program A throughout their whole labour, and other's switch between all three. In each program, there are two different pulse patterns. The first pattern, or the default, is what the machine does when you turn it on. It's designed to be used in between contractions. The BOOST button on the side of the device changes the pattern to one that is more effective during a contraction. For program A & B, you just press the BOOST button once to change the pattern when a contraction starts, and then once more when its over. In Program C, you hold the BOOST button for as long as you can during the contraction. Most women start out at an intensity of 8-12 in early labour and increase it to 20-25 during active labour. You can also turn up the intensity during contractions along with using the BOOST button for extra relief.
Putting the TENS machine on is very simple with your partner or your doula's help. The pads are large and designed to cover more of your back than regular non-labour TENS machines. The upper pads (attached to Channel A) go just under your bra line, and the bottom pads (attached to Channel B) go just above your tail bone or sacrum. The pads should each be placed as shown, above each other and away from your spine. If you are sweaty (LOL who isn't during pregnancy or labour) use the alchol wipes provided to wipe your back before placing the pads. If you've used the pads a lot and they are loosing their "stick", run them under cold water to refresh them.
That's it! It's that simple and easy to use, and now you are in charge of your pain relief and coping. Please remember labouring upright with lots of support makes for a better birth experience!