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TENS is a method of pain relief that uses a mild electrical current, often used in the early stages of labour. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.


If you are thinking about using TENS for pain relief in labour, you will need a TENS machine specifically designed for maternity use. A maternity TENS machine consists of a battery-powered, hand-held controller connected by fine leads to four flat pads. The pads are covered in a firm gel that helps them stick to your back.


What does a TENS machine do?

The machine sends small, safe pulses of electrical current via pads on your skin. The pulses pass through your skin and into your muscles and tissues. This gives you a gentle tingling or buzzing sensation, which may be stronger or weaker, depending on the setting level.

The controller part of the TENS machine is easy to hold in your hand while you're in labour. But if you don't want to hold it, you can clip it to your clothing or use the strap and hang it around your neck.

A TENS machine has buttons that you can use to control the frequency and strength of the pulses. There's also a boost button you can press with your thumb when you want maximum output from the machine. This may help you to get through each contraction/surge.

Around one in eight people use a TENS machine during labour.


You can organise to rent our labour TENs machine from 37 weeks of pregnancy until after your baby is born.

TENs Machine for Labour

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