How does a Labour TENS machine work?
1. Helps reduce the pain signals from reaching the brain
(pain gate theory)
When we experience pain, messages are sent along the nerves to the brain and then pain is felt. A Labour TENS machine is a small battery-operated device that releases electrical impulses via self-adhesive pads to stimulate the nerves under your skin. This electrical stimulation blocks the labour pain messages from reaching the brain. The brain then registers the more pleasant tingling sensation (produced by the Labour TENS machine) rather than the intense pain signals caused by the contraction.
2. Stimulates endorphin release
The electrical stimulation of the nerves also activates and enhances the release of your body’s natural pain-inhibiting chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals and their ability to produce an analgesic effect helps give you a sense of well-being and calmness, and hence less pain
What should it feel like?
Under each electrode, you should feel a mild tingling sensation, which some people say feels like a soothing back massage.
Where should I place the electrodes?
The first two self-adhesive electrodes are placed on either side of your spine at T10 – L1 (just under your bra line). This corresponds to the nerve supply to the uterus, hence reducing the pain felt in your lower abdominal area during a contraction
The next two electrodes are placed on the lower back at the pelvis level at S2 – S4 (where you feel two dimples). This helps block the back pain and the pain from the stretch of the pelvic floor and perineum area, which some women may experience during the first and second stages of labour. Please note the correct colour (red/black) placement of the attached electrodes.