What do the women of the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Canada know about reducing labor pain that we do not?
What if you were told that there was a drug-free way to control pain in labor that is widely used in the above countries but virtually unheard of in the United States?
The T.E.N.S. Unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit) is a hand-held battery powered unit that sends low-voltage electrical currents to the skin via surface electrodes. T.E.N.S. units are commonly prescribed in the US for post-surgical or chronic pain conditions.
There are many benefits to the use of a TENS Unit during labor:
– Intensity is controlled by the laboring woman, not the medical staff
– Can be applied or discontinued at any point of the labor
– Non-invasive and non-addictive; Safe for laboring woman and baby
– Allows for position changes and most comfort measures (cannot be worn in tub)
A 1998 study found shorter duration of first-stage labor and later introduction of pain medication in the TENS users than the control groups. The majority of all T.E.N.S. users in the study also considered T.E.N.S. effective for pain relief and stated they would use it again in future labors.
So where can you learn more about this empowering labor tool? In the United States, a licensed physical therapist can provide you with a TENS unit and instruction on how to use the unit during labor as long as you a script from your OB-GYN..
At Renew Physical Therapy, instruction on the T.E.N.S. unit is just one of the many tools we provide our patients during their pregnancy. Call or visit our website to learn how we empower women with Pelvic Power instruction, Diastasis Recti correction and post-partum exercise programs that safely help women get their bodies back after birth.
Reference: Kaplan B, Rabinerson D, Lurie S, Bar J, Krieser U, Neri A. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for adjuvant pain-relief during labor and delivery. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 1998;60: 251-5.
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