Throughout your pregnancy, you have probably given your birth plan and pain relief a lot of thought. For many people a TENS machine (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) is an effective method of pain relief involving the use of a mild electrical current.
A TENS machine is a small, battery-operated device that has leads connected to sticky pads called electrodes. The electrodes are attached directly to your skin. When the machine is switched on, small electrical impulses are delivered to the electrodes resulting in a tingling sensation.
The electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which may help relieve pain and relax muscles. They may also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers.
For most people, TENS is a safe treatment with no side effects. Some people may be allergic to the pads and their skin may become red and irritated, however special pads for people with allergies are available.
TENS isn't safe for everyone to use. You shouldn’t use it without first seeking medical advice if you have:
- a pacemaker or another type of electrical or metal implant in your body
- epilepsy or a heart problem.
TENS is safe to use from 37 weeks of pregnancy onwards.
TENS machines are available to hire from the Community Midwives’ Office in Casey Annex at Epsom Hospital and in the Antenatal Clinic at St Helier. We hire our machines for a four week period around your due date.
Please speak to our community midwifery staff if you would like to hire a TENS machine or call 01372 735368 for Epsom, or 0208 296 2761 for St Helier.