I just spoke to a lovely man whose wife was in labour because they thought that their obstetric TENS unit was not working because they could not feel any output. It turned out that they were testing it while leaving the electrode pads on their plastic backing. Don’t make the same mistake – take the pads off the plastic before putting them on your body or you won’t get your pain relief – OUCH!
Archive for the ‘Electrodes’ Category
You and your partner are sitting at the table having dinner. All of a sudden she exclaims “What’s that?”, you answer “What?”, she replies “That trickling of water down my leg?”
Her waters have just broken and after 20 minutes her contractions begin. Both of you are excited, nervous and curious of how this labour/childbirth experience is going to pan out.
You notice that your wife goes into organisation mode, getting out the yoga ball, CD player and calming CD, ensuring her water and sweets are at hand and that the TENS machine and electrodes are on the table. She suddenly starts bouncing on the yoga ball, you ask her if she’s practising or having an actual contraction…she doesn’t answer, you reason that she’s gone into that inward focus thing you both heard about in the Childbirth classes.
Midst all this she hasn’t asked you to put the TENS machine electrodes on her, YET this is the crucial time when to get them in place. Once you are sure that your partner has completed the contraction, demonstrated by a relaxation from bouncing on the yoga ball and a general look of ‘I’m not in pain any more’, suggest you put the electrodes on her straight away. The sooner the TENS machine gets to work the better as it takes a little time for it to stimulate one’s own natural pain killing chemicals and the TENS machine is developed to follow the stages of your labour starting from the beginning.
It’s best that you and your partner, prior to labour, have a verbal agreement that you, the husband, are going to suggest early on to put the electrodes on her, therefore if she’s very focussed and you’re getting the feeling she doesn’t want you to interfere then you’ll know THIS was definitely pre-agreed.
TENS machine are fantastic pieces of equipment helping so many women throughout their labour. However, wrong application and re-application of electrodes can result in a less effective experience. Here are a few pointers of how to get the best results from your electrodes:
APPLICATION OF ELECTRODES
- Before applying or removing your electrodes ALWAYS ensure your unit is switched off.
- Clean the area where you wish to apply the electrodes with soap and water, rinse off and then dry well. You should have had the option of buying a pre-TENS application gel when you purchased your TENS machine, if you do not have this you can purchase it separately off the Babycaretens site.
- BEFORE peeling the electrode pads off their packet, remove the wires from the TENS machine and attach the electrode connectors to them. A mistake is to attach the electrodes to you first, this is NOT a shortcut, they will be pulled and stretched and wear away fast.
- Grip the edge of the electrode and carefully peel it off the packet. Retain the packet in a clean bag for storage. Dirty packets will negatively affect your electrodes when placed back onto them.
- Place the electrodes with the wires hanging down to the appropriate area. When applying them, place the centre of the electrode onto the skin first and then smooth down the electrode edges. Attach all electrodes to your skin then attach the wires to the TENS machine.
REMOVAL OF ELECTRODES
- Switch off the TENS unit and disconnect the wires from the unit.
- Remove the electrodes by carefully peeling from the electrode edge.
- Return to the packet, centre first and smoothing the edges, just the same way you placed them on your skin.
- Disconnect the electrode connectors from the TENS machine’s wires.
- Store in a re-sealable bag in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
- If the adhesive becomes over-saturated, allow the electrodes to air dry in a refrigerator with the adhesive side up until the gel retains its tackiness and use your spares. To avoid this it is best to ensure that the skin is always fully dry.
- If the electrode adhesive appears too dry, add a few drops of water and allow to rest at room temperature until tacky.
If you have found this helpful or have any questions please feel free to comment.
If you have already had a child and had the privilege of using a TENS machine then you need not read further. If this is your first time using a TENS machine then you won’t know how it works and how the different options feel.
“Many studies have revealed that a sense of control is a major contributing factor to a woman’s birth experience and her subsequent well-being.” PubMed, 2003.
It has been discovered that women who feel more in control in labour are calmer, less tense and therefore more comfortable. A TENS machine is a precious unit that can instill a real sense of control and calm yet if one doesn’t know how to use it before labour, some of it’s advantages can be masked.
We therefore recommend to try out your TENS machine before use. One must not use it on the back but can try it on the forearm and get a very good feel for the different pulse sensations and an overall satisfying grasp of their TENS. All one needs to do is place the electrodes on their forearm as opposed to their back, read the instructions manual and start getting familiar. We suggest people buy two packs of electrodes, one for practise and one for the big day.
If you have done this before and felt this experience or article was helpful, please feel free to comment.