What is a TENS Unit?
Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit is a drug-free option used during labor to help bring pain relief. The TENS unit works by sending electrical nerve stimulation through the electrodes, which produces a tingling sensation to help reduce the intensity of the contraction. TENS unit allows a laboring mother to remain active and upright—you can labor with a TENS unit in any position you want!
Must have provider consent to use a TENS Unit.
Pros for Using a TENs Unit
- No harmful effects or risks for mother or baby
- Does not restrict movement in labor
- Able to be used in your own home in early labor
- Mother controls TENS unit
- Able to use it exactly when needed and at the strength desired
- Burst mode to help increase strength during a contraction
- A non-invasive method for pain relief
What is the gate control theory?
The gate control theory was founded in 1965 by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall through their findings that stimuli can positively impact the intensity of pain by reducing how it is received by the brain.
The brain receives the message of pain from the small diameter nerve fibers. However, when using a TENs unit the additional stimuli is sent to the brain from the large diameter nerve fibers, which interferes with the signal from the pain fibers.
Any stimuli—TENS, heat, cold, pressure or massage will stimulate the large diameter nerve fibers and reduce the intensity of your contractions!