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TENS Pain Relief in Labour

Well, there’s no sugar-coating it, labour hurts!  This you have no control over.  However, how you choose to minimise and cope with this pain is something that remains firmly within your grasp.  As a mother, you will always want what’s best for your child, to protect them in any way you can.  This begins before you even set eyes on your newborn baby.  There is now a tiny little life that depends upon you for everything, even the oxygen and food essential for their survival.   So it is understandable why many mums-to-be opt for a natural/drug-free form of pain relief during labour.Kegel8 Labour TENS Diagram

You will have almost certainly heard the term ‘epidural’ before.  The idea of having an epidural has most soon-to-be mums running for the hills.  Similarly the idea of being injected with all manner of drugs can be quite off putting, especially when you have a little one to think about.  In worst case scenarios an epidural can result in a prolonged second stage of labour and increase the risk of having an instrumental delivery (with forceps or ventouse).  Other drugs can make it difficult to push, and if administered too close to birth could affect the baby’s breathing.

Regardless of how prepared you are, as soon as you go into labour, panic will undoubtedly ensue.  It is important to try and remain calm; a feat sometimes easier said than done!  Do what you can to ensure that you are in a relaxed environment and feel completely comfortable.  You may want to try listening to calming music, having a back massage from your partner, or even burning some essential oils (check suitability during pregnancy).  Do try to remain mobile though; walking around not only eases the pain of contractions, it can also speed up labour itself.  Remember all of those helpful tips you learnt in antenatal class?  Well, it won’t be long before your knowledge is being put to the test.  Don’t tell me you weren’t listening when they were teaching those all-important breathing techniques?

Approximately one in five women will use TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to help them through the early stages of childbirth[1].  Designed to block the pain signals sent to the brain, whilst stimulating the release of endorphins (the body’s own natural painkillers), a TENS machine also offers a welcome distraction from the trials and tribulations associated with labour.  This is achieved by a gentle electric current passing through the body, between electrodes placed on your lower and mid-back, and will feel like a soft massaging buzzing against the skin.

although less effective during established labour, using TENS for as long as practical can stave off and reduce the risk of a drug assisted birth.  In addition, going through the early stages of labour without any pain relief can be tiring and diminish the ability to cope with pain during the latter stages.  It is certainly a good place to start, and can be combined with other forms of pain relief, including entonox (gas and air), to create a dual barrier against pain.

although Labour TENS machines remain a popular choice, they are becoming less readily available in hospitals up and down the country.  As women are no longer admitted until the active stage of labour, many hospitals are choosing to invest in alternative forms labour pain relief.  Because of this very fact, it has become quite common for women to purchase their own TENS machine prior to going into hospital, which means the pain and discomfort can be eased from the very first contraction.

It is highly unlikely that any new mum goes into childbirth with an epidural or drugs as their first choice of pain relief.  However, things don’t always turn out as planned.  Don’t put yourself under too much pressure, you’re only human!  Regardless of your intentions, unforeseen circumstances may make drug free labour impossible.

Remember; it will be worth it in the end!  You’ll be handed your little bundle of joy and the pain will become a distant memory.  Knowing your options is half the battle, so we hope this article has, in some way, helped to give you a greater understanding.


Start the healing process & regain strength in the pelvic floor post-partum in as little as 12 weeks, with the help of the Kegel8 Ultra 20 & Amanda Savage!

Amanda Savage is one of the UK’s leading specialist pelvic floor and women’s health physiotherapists, who has worked in the field for over 20 years offering supervised pelvic floor muscle training and support for the recovery of pelvic organ prolapses, incontinence and pelvic surgeries. With post-graduate qualifications, including a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, she has also gained full membership of the Professional Network of Pelvic, Obstetric & Gynaecological Physiotherapy (POGP). As a Kegel8 ambassador, Amanda Savage has worked alongside us for many years in the development of our best-selling device, the Kegel8 Ultra 20 V2 Electronic Pelvic Toner, to ensure its efficacy. In addition, she has been integral to ensuring all supporting information and instructions are medically accurate so that the device is used correctly/effectively, and treatment is tailored to the specific condition of the user.

Find out more about Amanda Savage, her qualifications, experience, knowledge, and affiliations here.

Amanda Savage

Comes complete with an easy exercise plan, created by Amanda Savage, to get results in 12 weeks!

Welcoming your little bundle of joy into the world is likely to be the happiest moment of your life. But it can also be the most challenging, in many ways! Indeed, you are now responsible for a little life. But, as daunting as that sounds, it’s important to remember that to take care of them, you need to take care of yourself!

Since giving birth, you have probably noticed many differences in your body! That’s because the pelvic floor muscles must stretch to accommodate your baby during delivery, which can result in weakness and damage. However, this damage/weakness is certainly not irreversible and is, by no means, an inevitability of childbirth. By simply performing regular pelvic floor exercise, it is possible to re-build the strength and endurance of the muscles to ensure optimum bladder and bowel control. That means no more annoying ‘leaks’ when you sneeze or laugh! In addition, by building strength and tone in the pelvic floor, your organs will be better supported, which will prevent prolapse and stop your symptoms from worsening over time.

In the first 12 weeks after your baby is born, you’re encouraged to do pelvic floor exercises but, as the body is still very fragile, it’s not advised to use a muscle stimulation machine until after 12 weeks have passed. Until then, use traditional Kegel exercises without the assistance of a device. After 12 weeks, you can use a muscle stimulation machine to help improve circulation to the pelvic floor and perineum and to help exercise the muscles. We recommend using the Kegel8 Ultra 20 V2 Electronic Pelvic Toner once the initial 12 weeks have passed. Removing the guesswork and essentially acting as a Sat-Nav for your pelvic floor muscles, it correctly targets and stimulates a contraction within them using a small electric current. These contractions build strength and tone in a matter of weeks! With 20 clinically proven pelvic floor exercise programmes which vary in frequency, intensity and duration, the Ultra 20 is proven to treat a variety of different conditions, including bladder and bowel weakness post-partum and pelvic organ prolapse. And, in addition to tailored programmes, the specific 12-week exercise plans created by Amanda Savage advise exactly how the device should be used, depending upon the condition, to ensure the very best treatment.

The included 12-week treatment plan for postpartum recovery has been specifically created to re-build the strength and endurance of the muscles to ensure optimum bladder and bowel control following pregnancy and labour. It also calms the nerves responsible that can cause sensitivity in the bladder and builds strength and tone in the pelvic floor, so the organs are better supported to prevent prolapse and stop symptoms from worsening over time. The plan encourages new mothers to take things slowly and has been expertly tailored to utilise the right programmes at the right time to ensure optimum results.

 

References:

1. (CQC 2010)