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Giving birth is probably one of the most painful things a woman can ever go through but also one of the most amazing things ever too. When I had my first baby I was able to do it without the use of an epidural and just relied on gas and air and with my second baby I knew I wanted to pretty much have the same type of pain relief. I had heard good and bad things about an epidural so if I could achieve my birth as natural as possible then that was what I wanted to do. However, knowing how much it hurt the first time around I was on the lookout for alternative forms of pain relief that did not involve scary needles or too much medicine that would put both me and the baby out of it for a while, I wanted to enjoy the birth but also feel good whilst it happens.
That's when one of my mummy friends recommended a TENS machine. TENS is an acronym for Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, a much easier way of saying it in my opinion and it involves the use of electric current to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes. My friend had used one during her labour and recommended it so she said I could borrow hers. A lot of TENS machine are available for you to rent from various pharmacies or health centres but I was pleased to have one to borrow from someone I knew. I will go into how I made it especially for me and not just a second hand pain relief machine later.
Boots Maternity TENS unit is developed specifically to counter the effects of labour pain. The machine is very easy to use and fairly effective. The machine gives out electrical signals which Boots say in their paperwork will initially feel like pins and needles. To me it felt like little needle pricks or little tiny electrical shocks all over your body which was a weird sensation but during labour it really gives you something to focus on that little shock of pain and in my opinion really stopped me thinking about the pain that was going on in other areas of my body. The electrical signals are transmitted through sticky pads, proper name Self Adhesive Electrodes which stick to the body and are attached to the machine by little wires. I found these stuck really well where I placed them and I had no issues with them falling off when I didn't want them to. I purchased new sticky pads for the machine as these were obviously parts of the machine that come in contact with your bare skin and so you would want new ones of these. A pack of the Boots ones that go with this machine cost about £7 so it was not too much of an outlay.
The machine works because the electrical signals allow the body to release endorphins, the body's natural painkillers and to block the pain signals. I used this at the start of my labour but not right up to the end as I didn't want it getting in the way in the end. It did a really good job at the start when the pain started to pick up and the waves of contractions started.
I'm glad I borrowed this machine, I probably would not buy one, a new one in Boots costs about £50 but if you can rent or borrow one I would recommend it for the first stage of labour pain.