TENS stands for, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. TENS is a safe, non-pharmaceutical method of pain control, and can be helpful for a women in labor.

Two electrodes are placed on your skin and connected to a battery pack that sends small pulses of electrical current to the body.

It is believed that the TENS unit helps to activate gate control which means that the stimulation of the nerves caused by the TENS unit travels to the brain faster than the pain from the contractions!

You’ll learn more about gate control in our prenatal appointments!

TENS are used in many ways for pain management often by physical therapists in patient treatment.

Many moms find they have the ability to make it further in labor before choosing an epidural.


advantages of using the Tens

The advantages of TENS are that:

  • it doesn’t require medicines or injections

  • it may give you some control over pain relief

  • you are able to move about

  • you can use other methods if TENS does not give you enough pain relief

  • there is no harm to you or your baby

  • it can be used at home during early labor

The disadvantages are that:

  • it doesn’t work for everybody

  • TENS machines can’t be used in the bath or shower

Risks & side effects of using the Tens

TENS is thought to be very safe. But it shouldn’t be used:

  • on an open wound or if your skin is irritated

  • while driving

  • by women who are pregnant but not in labor

  • by people who have a pacemaker or a cochlear implant

  • by some people with epilepsy

Some people find:

  • irritation of the skin where the electrodes are stuck on

  • that TENS is uncomfortable but not painful

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Contact Sarah Ross for information on TENS unit rental or purchase information