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Power of Tens

November 11, 2011

Week 32, and having worried me by being breech over the last 2 weeks, Io seems to have settled head down bum up, so looks like we are go for a natural delivery (my Ob automatically c-sections all breech babies, which I was keen to avoid).

So in the expectation that this is now going to happen, I’ve been researching TENS machines as a source of non-pharmacological pain relief during labour.  Last time, I found it most comforting to be under the shower; the combination of warmth and the sensation of all the droplets really got me through the worst bits of active labour, and I was interested to see if the TENS machine could achieve the same thing.  (We ended up running out of hot water last time, and having not clicked that I could simply put the plug to run a bath in I got quite distressed at the thought of having to get out!)

But, opinion seems divided about whether it will be helpful or not, and I’m still undecided whether to spend the $70-80 or not.  From what I’ve read it can be helpful in early labour (but I managed though that quite easily, with breathing techniques, hypnobirthing and heat packs), but less so in advanced labour which is when I would be looking for a little extra boost.  Much of the benefit seems like it’s purely psychosomatic – the perception of pain being less, rather than it actually delivering pain relief.  Still, I guess that doesn’t sound too bad?  Interested in the thoughts of anyone else who’s used one.  My cousin in Holland has recommended it and say they are quite popular in The Netherlands where home birth is common (like last time, I hope to labour at home as long as possible before fronting up at the hospital for the Ob to play catch).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2011 5:16 pm

    I do think it helped me get through early labour (up until about 6cm, when I got in the bath). I just recall it made things a bit easier to keep under control. But then my labour was pretty different from yours, being induced meant I couldn’t be at home where I really wanted to be, and things moved a lot faster since I was fully dilated after 10 hours. Add to that Pugs being posterior….but then was Lady G too? Anyway, I definitely noticed contractions being worse when I forgot to press my button, and much better when The Tall Guy made me turn it up (I was trying to “save” some for later on, but apparently its better if you go straight to the higher settings). Enough that if (when?) we go for our own Io, I’d be hiring one again.

    • The Barreness permalink*
      November 11, 2011 5:32 pm

      No, G wasn’t posterior, and I had a longer, slower labour having not been induced (took up to 38 hours to get fully dilated). Feels like it’s just another thing to have in the toolbox, and if it doesn’t work it’s not going to do any harm – although good to hear it may have a positive impact.

      Otherwise, will aim to replicate last time as much as possible, although I will remember to put the plug in the bath – unless I decide to head to Mum and Dad’s apartment if all my lowing appears to be disturbing The Bee. While there’s no bath, imagine labouring with that view!

  2. katery permalink
    November 12, 2011 7:24 am

    well, i’m not sure what it is that you’re talking about, but if it helps, it’s totally worth it, even if it is psychosomatic. as far as i’m concerned, any sort of relief during labor is well worth the money.

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