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TENS Unit in Labor

TENS Unit in Labor

2 minute read

Tens Machine for Contractions

Some of the most common questions we get asked by customers revolve around the safety of using TENS (or E-Stim) Units when pregnant, and close to the due date. Over the following points, we will outline how- if applied correctly, TENS can be used safely during labor without any side effects to the baby. 


What is a TENS Unit?


TENS Units, also known as E-Stim machines, are designed to block pain signals to the brain, which during labor can help make the process more tolerable. They are often used as better alternatives to drugs like morphine, which cross the placenta and can harm the baby. By placing the electrode pads along the mid and lower back, one can control the strength of the machine based on each contraction. 


How is it helpful?

Besides blocking pain signals, TENS Units are also known for increasing the production of endorphins, which in turn helps block pain as well in a safe, controlled manner.


The use of TENS Units in earlier stages of pregnancy has not been approved by professionals, however several studies (such as this one) provide encouraging results that the use of TENS Units during labor is safe, and even encouraged for women experiences joint and/or muscle pain and inflammation. What matters most is educated electrode pad placement.


Precautions to keep in mind:

  • Do not use before 37 weeks' gestation
  • Do not use if you suffer from epilepsy or have a pacemaker
  • Do not activate electrode pads on the hands, below the knees, on face or neck, or on top of shoulders. 
  • Always get approval from your doctor first.

When purchasing for a TENS/E Stim Machine, always check with your doctor before putting to use during labor. A highly recommended unit is the Verve TENS Unit, which has 12 different modes, making it easier for you to increase the strength of the machine as contractions get stronger. 

Happy Birthing!

tens unit safety and pregnancy

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