The later stages of pregnancy can be wonderfully exciting for mothers to be. Preparations for nurseries, deciding on names for your new arrival, and deciding on a birth plan. 

Using a A TENS unit is something you might be considering during your third trimester and into labour, but does it allow you freedom of movement and to still walk around? Let’s find out. 

First we will take a look at the short answer and then we can delve a little deeper. 

A TENS machine can be used for moms in labor and in pregnancy for those who are walking around or otherwise mobile. One of the chief benefits of a TENS machine is its portability. Most TENS machines have hand controllers which mean you are able to move around freely while using the unit.

So with the brief answer in mind, let’s discover a little more about tens machines so you can more easily understand if they allow you to walk around whilst wearing one. 

How does a TENS machine help during Labor and Pregnancy? 

Some of the best TENS machines have a hand held controller and can be used during labor and pregnancy to help moms feel more comfortable. 

They are usually quite compact in size, ( about the size of a mobile phone) and have a series of wires attached to a pad which you place on your body. 

The pads are sticky so you can place them directly where you are feeling discomfort. Once the pads are secured you will feel a ‘buzzing’ or a tingle on your skin which helps to ease pain during labor, during menstruation and other forms of pain. 

However, many moms might wonder if they use a TENS machine does it mean they have to remain still for the machine to work properly. 

“Some of the best TENS machines have a hand held controller and can be used during labor to help moms feel more comfortable.”

Will my TENS machine work properly if I’m walking around? 

Due to the design nature of most TENS machines Coupled with their method of pain relief, they are a perfect way to allow moms freedom of movement during labor. 

As we found out earlier, sticky pads attach to each wire which are then placed where you are feeling pain or discomfort. 

As TENS are usually controlled with a hand held device, this means you aren’t ‘hooked’ up to any kind of static unit in order to reap the benefits. 

Using a TENS machine gives you freedom to move and walk around without having to remain either seated or lying down. 

Ok so now we’ve discovered how a TENS unit can help you to be more mobile during labor by walking around, let’s find out why it’s so important to have freedom of movement. 

Why is it important to keep mobile during Labor? 

According to many clinical studies, moving, including walking around, has many benefits for moms during labor. 

One of the main reasons that walking around and being mobile in labor is important is connected to the advantages of using a TENS machine. 

A sense of control can help moms to feel less anxious during labor. Being mobile and using a TENS machine work together to enable those benefits. 

“According to many clinical studies, moving, including walking around, has many benefits for moms during labor.”

Benefits of moving around in labor

Historically when moms were in labor, less movement was encouraged. This mainly gave advantages to the caregiver rather than the mom-to-be! 

In recent times moving around has been shown to have a more positive effect on both labor, after labor, and for the baby. 

 By moving around, walking, and having the ability to change position, moms are more likely to have a normal vagina delivery. 

It can also help labor progress more quickly and means the baby is in a good position to greet the world! This happens by assisting the cervix to dilate for the baby to enter the birth canal. 

Benefits of using a TENS machine to keep mobile during labor 

One of the best benefits of using a TENS machine whilst walking around and in any position is that it doesn’t have any lasting effects on you and your baby. 

Drugs to ease labor pain will cross the placenta and have a direct effect on your newborn as well as affecting mom. Having drug-free labor along with ease of movement is a consideration for many moms. 

During the earlier stages of labor, a TENS machine can help ease the discomfort of contractions whilst promoting mobility. 

Rather than waiting for a midwife or anesthetist, with the control pad in your hand, you can use a TENS machine as soon as you need it.  This will help you move freely and find the most comfortable position. 

So what about the later stages of labor, will you actually want to walk around with or without your TENS Unit? 

“A TENS machine can help ease the discomfort of contractions whilst promoting mobility.”

Will I feel like walking in the later stages of labor? 

Although movement and walking is encouraged, you might feel less like walking during the later stages of labor. 

However, a TENS machine used earlier in labor may help to release important endorphins which can make the final labor stages more comfortable for some moms. 

During this stage, although walking might not feel like something you want to do, moving position will help you to feel more in control and in less pain. 

Comfortable positions can vary. Some mums may feel like squatting, others standing up. 

Are there any other things I can try during labor to be more mobile? 

Many moms would like to limit the number of drugs used when in labor and are looking for a more natural way to control birth pain and have freedom of movement.

More natural birth has many benefits including less tearing, in general, shorter time delivering, and more able to keep moving around. 

Along with using a TENS machine, there are other ways you and your birth partner can try. 

Relaxing massage 

The reassuring touch of either your birth partner or midwife can help you to feel calmer and more able to cope with the demands on your body of labor. 

A brief message means you will be able to keep more mobile and still walk around which is recommended by many experts ring labor. 

Hot water bottle or wheat bag 

Warmth can help to reduce all kinds of pain, so it’s not surprising that a hot water bottle or wheat bag can help. 

Although during the use of a hot bottle or wheat bag you may want to sit, it will help to relax you ready for a change of position or movement. 

Is there anything I need to know about using a TENS machine to help me move more freely? 

To make sure your TENS machine has the best benefits for ease of movement and to enable you to walk around more freely, follow our top tips: 

  • Give the unit time to work: Using the TENS machine early in labor can help to build up the endorphins which will relax moms in labor and be more able to control pain 

  • Make sure the pads are connected: As the pads that connect the machine wires to your body are sticky, make sure they are properly connected to your back if you have been fairly mobile or walking around. We recommend after around three hours, reapplying with gel. 
  • Remove TENS at any time: Although it’s important to give the TENS machine time to work, you can stop it and remove it any time during labor. This is one of its main advantages for mobile moms and also one its benefits overusing drugs or an epidural 

And finally…

So we hope that’s covered everything you need to know about how TENS machines can help expectant and delivering moms keep active! 

Here at helptomums, we offer home-based clinical relief From TENS machines to back braces, for a safer and more comfortable pregnancy. 

Learn more here by checking out our videos.