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Elle Tens - Pain Relief During Labour

Elle TENS is one of the most award-winning Labour TENS devices available to Australian mums-to-be. This obstetrics TENS machine was the first to introduce the highly desired Opti-Max* technology (Fancy word for really good extra power!)

This Labour TENS machine offers maximum pain relief during childbirth. It boasts a large display, pre-set modes and most importantly the "Boost Button". In fact it is because of its effectiveness, simplicity and no-fuss that Elle TENS is one of the worlds most popular choice for mums-to-be.

Elle TENS is a safe, effective, drug-free method of pain relief, which still allows you to use other analgesics, such as pethidine or gas-and-air if you wish.

TENS machines aren't just for birth! TENS machines have been shown to naturally help improve back pain, neck pain, menstrual pain, postpartum afterpains, pain from surgery (e.g. c-section, shoulder pain from breastfeeding, neuropathy, sports injuries and more!

What is Opti-Max? Optimax Technology gives an extra reserve of power for when you really need it. Used for the final stages of labour when you need extra pulse power or any time depending on your preference.

Please Note: TENS Machines are covered under Private Health cover. You will need to contact your provider to see what benefits you have.

What is TENS?
TENS is a drug-free kind of pain relief often used by women in early labour. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

A maternity TENS machine consists of a battery-powered, hand-held controller connected by fine leads to four flat pads. The pads are covered in a firm gel that helps them stick to your back.

The machine sends small, safe pulses of electrical current via the leads to the pads on your skin. The pulses pass through your skin and into your muscles and tissues. This gives you a gentle tingling or buzzing sensation, which may be stronger or weaker, depending on the setting level.

The controller part of the TENS machine is easy to hold in your hand while you're in labour. But if you don't want to hold it, you can clip it to your clothing or attach a strap and hang it around your neck.

A TENS machine has buttons that you can use to control the frequency and strength of the pulses. There's also a boost button for you to press with your thumb when you want maximum output from the machine. This may help you to get through each contraction.

Cranial TENS is an alternative to maternity TENS that may help with pain relief once you're in active labour. Instead of pads, you wear a band around your head. The band delivers electrical impulses to your forehead, just above your nose.

How does a TENS machine work?
We don't know exactly how TENS works to help you cope in labour. It's probably due to a combination of factors. These could include:
the electrical pulses prevent pain signals from reaching your brain
the pulses stimulate your body to release natural, feel-good substances called endorphins
it helps you to feel in control of your labour and be less anxious
it offers a distraction from your contractions

There's not a lot of evidence to show how effective using a TENS machine is as a form of pain relief but most midwives are supportive of the idea of using one. About one woman in five plans to use TENS at some point in labour and most mums who've tried it say that they'd be willing to use it again in their next labour.

When should I use TENS?

You can use TENS from the very beginning of your labour.

You could start using it when you're getting regular contractions or backache. You may find that the machine works better at relieving your backache than other types of pain. This is probably because the pads are on your back.

TENS is most likely to be effective in early labour though you may still need other forms of pain relief as your labour gets stronger.

Your midwife will not recommend starting TENS if you're already in established labour. However, if you started using TENS earlier and want to carry on using it, that's fine. You may need to take off the TENS pads if your baby's heart has to be monitored electronically, because the pads could affect the signals to the monitoring machine.

What are the advantages of TENS?

  • You can keep moving around while using it.
  • It won't directly interfere with your labour.
  • You can use it for as long as you want to and take it off if you want or need to.
  • There are no lasting side-effects.
  • It's safe for you and your baby.
  • You don't need an anaesthetist, doctor or midwife to help you use it.
  • It can be used for a home birth.
  • It's portable and non-invasive.
  • You control it.
  • It's easy to use.