Why you need a TENS machine..
For a vast majority of women, their birth preference (and guidance from midwives and obstetricians) is to labour at home where they are most comfortable and at ease.
Sometimes, if a mother is in very early labour; they may present to the birth suite only to be told to go home and return once they are in active labour (when your contractions are 2-3 minutes apart, and lasting 30-60 seconds). This can be disheartening, frustrating, and a down right pain when you have driven 30+ minutes to get to hospital.
Research tells us that low-risk women who spend much of their time labouring at home require fewer birth interventions and untoward maternal outcomes.
Oxytocin (the love hormone and the hormone that is responsible for bringing on labour contractions) is known to flourish when a woman feels safe, relaxed and loved. Oxytocin levels are higher in your safe haven of your own space, and can be disrupted when you are in a 'sterile' hospital setting. This is why it is common for your contractions to slow down when at hospital, not in established labour.
With this knowledge, we believe it is imperative for women to have choices when they go into spontaneous labour at home.
Have a think about the modes of pain relief that you would use, or have access to in your house?
I can help you name a few;
- Panadol or Panadiene/Forte
- A heat pack
- The shower or bath (bath if your waters have not broken)
Once you have utilised the above, you are not left with too many options.
This is where a TENS machine comes in!
Using a TENS can help make this time much more comfortable, and it will prolong your time at home.
In a randomised trial 'Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) reduces pain and postpones the need for pharmacological analgesia during labour: a randomised trial', published in 2015 concludes that;
'The use of TENS at the beginning of the active phase of labour produces a significant decrease in pain.
This study showed that the average time until the participants using a TENS machine requested further analgesia was delayed, compared to the group without a TENS machine'.
Advantages of a TENS machine can be found here.
Make sure you hire your TENS to have that beautiful, natural birth that you envision.