In both of my pregnancies I’ve practised hypnobirthing to prepare myself for labour, in the hope of it being controlled through breathing and being in my own ‘zone’. When I gave birth to Indy, I used gas and air alongside hypnobirthing but it made me really sick! I mentioned this to my midwife this time round, who suggested getting hold of a TENS machine to try out, and it was amazing! I used it alongside breathing techniques and gas and air, and had the controlled birth experience I wanted. Here’s why I loved it:
The TENS machine works by sending electrical impulses through electrode pads that stick to specific points on your back – the impulses prevent the nervous system transmitting pain signals to the brain. I hate needles and wanted to try and avoid drugs, so this was perfect for me to try initially. It’s not painful at all, but is an odd sensation that you get used to quite quickly!
It can be Used at Home
My contractions started 2 days before I actually gave birth, so I mostly spent that time bouncing on a birthing ball, going for walks, having hot baths and doing a bit of light yoga to try and get things moving a bit quicker and to make me feel more comfortable! I started using the TENS machine at home when the contractions were getting more intense but I still had a while before I could go into hospital – as they were going on for so long, it gave me pain relief for a specific area which really helped!
It Allowed Me to Sleep
Contractions become exhausting, and as I didn’t know how long they were going to go on for, I had to get some sleep (which is obviously easier said than done!) I ended up having two full nights to get through, and on the second night I got into bed with the TENS machine on. I hated lying down when going through a contraction as I felt restricted like I couldn’t absorb the pain properly, but the TENS machine cranked up a notch allowed me to get solid chunks of sleep which made the world of difference in the long run!
It Can be Used in the Car
Sat in a car in a restricted position with a seatbelt on when having contractions is far from ideal, especially when two car seats mean you can’t stretch out in the back either! I made the journey to hospital with my trusty TENS machine on, which made it more bearable, even over speed bumps!
It Can be used in Hospital
Even when you get to hospital, the likelihood is that you will have a bit of a wait – in triage waiting to get examined, then waiting for a room, and in my case, waiting for the birthing pool to get filled! Even if you are wanting another form of pain relief, the chances are you won’t get this immediately on arrival, so the TENS machine can give you a bit of relief beforehand.
I was in Full Control of it
My TENS machine was on throughout Lowe’s birth (aside from the birthing pool!), as well as through delivering the placenta and having a couple of stitches! I loved being in the pool when I had Indy, but this time I didn’t get the same relief from it, which I put down to having had the TENS machine on for so long beforehand, and getting used to controlling what I got from it. You have so many different settings with different frequencies and pulse settings, as well as a boost button which I used to ease me through every particularly horrendous one! I started off quite light, and built up the intensity as the contractions got worse, but you can set it however you want.
Easy to Time with Contractions
I enjoyed the sensation of gas and air this time, especially when I was in the birthing pool, but I really struggled with timing it to give me relief when the contraction was at its peak! The boost button gave an intense relief that impacted immediately, so using this alongside the gas and air worked wonders for me.
Easy to Rent!
When the midwife first mentioned trying a TENS machine, I imagined they could just give me one at the hospital, which wasn’t the case. I could rent one from there but it was actually more expensive than sourcing myself, with the added hassle of picking it up! I got mine from Birth-ease via Amazon. It arrived a couple of weeks before my due date and I could keep it until 3 weeks after in case I went overdue. It came in a small box with everything I needed, even spare batteries, and I just had to pop it in the post in the returns delivery sack when I was done! It was so easy, and the best £25 ever spent!
I’d love to hear your stories using a TENS machine, and if it did or didn’t help you in labour. Or if you have any questions, please comment below! xxx