The use of TENS Unit during labor is highly and commonly used in European countries (mostly in the U.K) as a comfort measure during labor.
Women report that the unit provides focus and distraction and that it’s more effective it they start to use their TENS unit during early labor as it increased the endorphin level in their body.
Video: How to use a TENS Unit
What is a TENS Unit?
TENS is handheld battery-operated device generates the electrical impulses and transmits them via stimulating pads.
Mild electrical impulses are transmitted through the skin
Change the conscious message (pain) from the brain and reduces awareness of pain
“Obstetric-type unit” is different than the unit use by chiropractor and PT
Very simple to use and it’s specially design for laboring women
Allow ambulation and movement
Benefits in labor
Reduce of labor pain (When used on high frequency, the TENS unit, selectively stimulates certain non-pain-transmitting nerve fibers to send signals to the brain that override other nerve signals carrying pain messages. When used on low frequency, the unit stimulates the production of endorphins, by activated opioid receptors)
Increases endorphin level
Postpone or avoid of request of epidural
Continued active participation by the woman
Less medical interventions
Especially effective for back pain (but not only) and prolonged painful pre labor (prodromal labor)
No loss of other sensations or contraction pain
Continued active participation by laboring person
Freedom to walk and move
No decrease of mental function
Fewer babies in to NICU
The person in labor controls the stimulation
None known side effects
No reported harm to mother or baby
Safe to use with external monitor (including wireless) – Can possibly interferes with an IUPC (lack of studie
Don not used before full term (38-40 weeks)
Epilepsy or seizures disorder
Skin rash on your back
Can not be used in the water (hydrotherapy)
TENS provides a safe and potentially helpful non-pharmacologic option to relieve labor pain
Baltimore , MD – Annapolis, MD – Washington, DC.