Waterbirth v. TENS machine

More little BLWers in the making... <rubs hands>

Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby hazELLEnut » 28 Jan 2009, 09:27

I'd love to hear some stories from people who've had a waterbirth (especially a hospital one, as I can't have a home birth) and/or used a TENS machine before. How effective were they in terms of pain relief? When I gave birth to Thomas I seriously thought I was about to pass out from the pain (maybe I should have had more than gas & air, but it didn't really occur to me to ask for it), so I'm desperate for anything that will make it better this time round.
Thanks!
Mother to J (November '98), J (December '01), T (February '07) and O (April '09).
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby ToothFairy » 28 Jan 2009, 09:50

I had a home birth with Dilly. I used a TENS machine at first, which was OK, but not sure it was positioned right. I remember shouting at DP cos he didn't know where to place the pads. Guess we really should have practiced beforehand :wink:

I had a birth pool as well, which was wonderful. I had no other pain relief apart from the TENS machine and then the birth pool. It still hurt, but it was manageable (I can't have gas and air, it makes me sick).

When I had Martha I had an epidural as it hurt so much I was shaking uncontrollably. So, I would say that the TENS and water birth are definitely worth trying. Good Luck x
Mummy to M - September 1998, D - October 2007, and E - May 2010. All BF, cloth nappies, and carried in the same sling, not sure BLW existed in the 90s though!
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby Jelly Belly » 28 Jan 2009, 10:06

I tried a TENS during my labour but found it just irritated me but I felt all of my contractions at the front. I think it's meant to be very good for a back to back labour which is the kind my friend who recommended it had - she thought TENS was sent straight from heaven.

I didn't actually give birth in my pool but I did use it from about 5cms to ease my contractions. I was in there for a couple of hours, taking a bit of entinox as the contractions peaked and completely missed the transition! It felt very safe and private bobbing about and made it really easy to find comfortable positions. Hospitals generally have a policy of asking you to get back out of the pool after two hours so if you do use it for pain relief during the first stage you might be asked to give birth on land.
The Chooby 28/10/07
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby BacktoSaz » 28 Jan 2009, 11:24

I used a TENS and loved it - no birth pool options where I was. I put it on from the first contractions and kept it on until I was almost fully dilated and it suddenly irritated me. It was great for early labour - I got to 6cm at home (over a whole day) without significant discomfort, then went to hospital where I also had gas & air (which I got quite obsessed about :oops: ). I will definitely be using a TENS again this time round.
Mum to L - Nov 07 and J - Aug 09
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby rach&ben » 28 Jan 2009, 13:16

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Last edited by rach&ben on 07 Feb 2011, 18:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby Allium » 28 Jan 2009, 20:07

TENS really helped me, but I couldn't get the pads to stay put...we even tried taping them on to me with duct tape :oops: guess if it hadn't been quite so hot they'd have stuck better! When I got into the birthpool though...it was like a switch had been flicked...amazing!
Mummy to Twink - 8/05/08, Squishy - 7/02/10 & Flopsy 1/11/12
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby monster » 28 Jan 2009, 20:30

I just used water for my labour. I loved the shower in the earlier stages and the pool was good later on (at a birth centre). I especially enjoyed(!) pushing in the pool (over an hour) - it had spa jets and they really felt good, during and inbetween contractions. I'd love a homebirth next time, but not sure I'd be able to organise a spa bath at home!
my lovely little monster - October 2007
a mini monster - August 2010
and a little beasty - June 2013
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby frecklemama » 28 Jan 2009, 21:06

I used both TENS machine and birthing pool. I found the TENS really useful - used it through a lot of my labour - both at home and then at hospital teamed with gas and air.
The birthing pool was a lovely thing to do - I felt really relaxed, but unfortunately my contractions stopped whilst I was in there. It was good pain relief, but I chilled out a bit too much! So then I had to come out of the pool (not easy when you are a huge whale with a baby's head between your legs!) and had Flo on dry land in the end.
Although it didn't work out that I actually gave birth in the pool I'd definitely try it again.
Hope it all goes well for you! How exciting!! :D
Mum to F (Feb 2008) and O (Dec 2010)
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby UpsyDaisy » 28 Jan 2009, 23:04

Jelly Belly wrote:I think it's meant to be very good for a back to back labour which is the kind my friend who recommended it had - she thought TENS was sent straight from heaven.


Have to disagree with your friend JB - I had a 3 day back to back labour and the TENS didn't even touch it!!! Was v disappointed but glad that we had given it a go. Not sure what to go for this time but don't think we'll be bothering hiring a TENS this time around.
Mummy to MonkeyMoo (2 and three quarters) and Monkeytoo (6 months and loving BLW already!)
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby MumtoMonsters » 29 Jan 2009, 12:35

I loved the TENS machine, and it helped enormously. With a lot of pain releif it's a good idea to get as far as you can before you need it, so that you use it when it's needed rather than on the off chance. The absolute opposite is true for TENS, strap it on as soon as it starts, so you just have a regular tiny hit. Then, as your need increases, you slowly raise the levels. You also have the added bonus of a boost button, which you use during contractions. I felt the TENS was almost like someone regularly (but gently!) pinging a little elastic band against my back. The boost was more like a huge wave of pins and needles. I know that all sounds really unpleasant, but believe me, not in comparison to a strong contraction!

The TENS got me to 7cm, and then the MW said it was time to get in the pool as the TENS alone was no longer enough. The pool was set up in the living room, but I was upstairs to change. DtM was with me, and for some reason ( :?: ) we removed the TENS upstairs, meaning that I had to get all the way back down and into the pool with no pain relief, and increased intensity contractions due to the stairs. Believe me, the TENS worked. The worst contractions of my entire labour were those between TENS and pool.

I didn't manage to actually birth in the pool, but getting into it was just a huge relief. I always forget this bit (crazy due to removing TENS too soon!), but DtM remembers. I was calm, confident, and at ease. At this point, the water itself wasn't enough for me though, so I was on the gas and air too, but DtM swears that the water made a huge differnce.

So, after huge amounts of waffle, get both.

PS - Mim was back to back, but have no way of knowing whether this made any difference or not!
2008 and 2010
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby allfalldown » 29 Jan 2009, 13:39

The TENS got me to 10 cm. I loved it. I actually had it on when I gave birth too! I wouldn't let the midwife take it off. I had a very quick first labour though. Would like to have a homebirth next time and will definately have it on hand as well as a birthpool but I may not get to use either if my labour is any quicker than my first one.
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby hazELLEnut » 29 Jan 2009, 14:12

Thanks so much everyone for all your replies. I think I'll do what MumtoMim suggests and try both the TENS and the water. Having said that, I know the best laid labour plans often go awry - I wanted a homebirth for Thomas, but ended up having him in hospital (no midwives available to come to our flat) on my back (the midwife wanted me to get on the bed to see how far dilated I was, and after that I felt I couldn't move) and with copious amounts of gas and air, which didn't seem to do anything for the pain. This time homebirth is definitely not an option, so I want to make the hospital experience as pleasant as possible.
Mother to J (November '98), J (December '01), T (February '07) and O (April '09).
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby Louisianablue2000 » 29 Jan 2009, 23:43

Quick warning about TENS. When the time comes to take it off then make sure you switch it off before you detach it. We forgot, I wasn't aware of it anymore (I was in the second stage of labour by this point and had taken gas and air and pethidine so wasn't thinking entirely straight). Anyway, the TENS machine was on the highest level and DH got a bit of an electrical shock :oops: !
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DD1 Dec 07, DD2 June 09, DS Sept 12
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby realsLINshady » 31 Jan 2009, 20:04

MumtoMim wrote: The absolute opposite is true for TENS, strap it on as soon as it starts, so you just have a regular tiny hit. Then, as your need increases, you slowly raise the levels. You also have the added bonus of a boost button, which you use during contractions.


Yes, yes yes. I held off too long and didn't get the TENS on soon enough with DD2. It helped, but not as much as it could have done. As soon as you twinge, get it on!
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Re: Waterbirth v. TENS machine

Postby robyn » 01 Feb 2009, 16:29

i was induced and had the tens on the minute the gel was in!!!!
was brilliant, had it on all the way through (didn't manage to get near any water :( ) at the beginning the lowest setting made me jump, at the end i had it on full with max boost and couldn't feel it at all!
Mum to Martha - 17/08/07 Greta - 04/02/11 and Ida - 18/10/13.
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