Archive for the 'TENS – Questions and answers' Category

Jan 07 2015

Comparison of Obstetric TENS

I am often asked to compare the Labour TENS with the Elle TENS and Elle plus.

Here is my thoughts:
There is not much difference between the Labour TENS and the Elle TENS – except the Elle has one extra comfort feature that the labour TENS doesn’t have. The labour TENS is more robust and very reliable than the Elle or Elle plus and therefore the only one hospitals buy and we use it for hire.
All of the machines have similar labour functions to each other, they all have boosters, 2 channels.

The Elle plus however is very different. Not only does it have all the Elle labour functions but it also has 4 general pain programs and 3 pelvic floor rehabilitation programs with a vaginal probe included.
Birth mode

    Burst mode – generally used between contractions
    Boost mode for combating additional pain during contractions

General pain mode

    Constant mode – Pulses are continuous and feel like a tingly sensation. This mode is generally used for acute pain conditions.
    Burst mode – Pulses are off and on in a regular cycle and will feel like a heartbeat sensation. This mode is generally used for chronic pain conditions.
    Massage mode – The pulses decrease and then increase in regular cycles creating a massaging sensation.
    Mixed mode – 3 seconds of Constant and 3 seconds of Burst as described above.

Pelvic mode

    PROG 1 – Helps with urge Incontinence
    PROG 2 – Helps with Stress Incontinence
    PROG 3 – A combination of urge and stress incontinence.
    PROG 2 – After Care – an optional mode that can be used directly after treatment

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Nov 30 2008

Do I need to wipe my skin with alcohol swabs before putting on the electrodes?

Hi Heather,

Just wanted to ask a question. Before application of the labour tens is it better to wipe the area with the alcohol swabs or there is nothing we need to do.


ANSWER: Thanks for the email. Good question. I don’t think it’s necessary as long as your skin is clean, dry and has no products on it. You only need to use an alcohol swab if the skin is greasy or has products/oils on it. After all alcohol swabs are not good for your skin and can cause more problems. It’s best just to wash if needed with a mild soap.

regards, Heather.

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Jun 10 2008

What does the boost button do?

Hi Heather,

When you use your TENS machine and you push the boost button what exactly happens and what is happening before you hit the boost button?

Does the boost button just start the machine or does it amp it up or just switch it to a different mode?

Answer: the labour TENS is specially designed to cope with labour pain as labour pain is very different from ordinary chronic/acute pain. The boost button allows you to switch between programs/modes without loosing the intensity of the signal. In between contractions when there is very little pain the rest mode sooths and relaxes, during a contraction press the boost button for strong pain relief. The booster switches the signal to intensify the stimulation and automatically increases the volume/intensity by 20%. At the end of the contraction press boost to return to rest mode. This unique feature allows women to cope with the huge sensation/pain shifts in labour. The ordinary TENS machines do not have this feature. They will zero when the program is changed. If you used an ordinary TENS you would need to keep ramping the volume/intensity switch up and down with each contraction.

Hope this helps,


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Jun 04 2008

Which TENS is best for back pain in pregnancy?


Hi Heather,

My wife is experiencing a lot of back pain. She is 30 weeks pregnant

now. We came across your website and considering hiring the Labour Tens for the 5 weeks but not sure whether this is the most appropriate TENS. This appears to be the only one available for hire.

I have read that it does help with back pain but is it more focused to labour pain or is it just as useful for back pain?

Kind Regards

ANSWER: Using TENS during pregnancy is a debated subject. Firstly all pain should be investigated by a Doctor and secondly you must be guided by your Doctor or physiotherapist. TENS is safe from 37 weeks plus or if under instruction of a Dr when using TENS during pregnancy.

The labour TENS will also be helpful for back pain but as you point out it is specifically designed for labour. If your wife has a chronic pain problem you will need a more general TENS. You could purchase a NT3 which has 15 programs and more versatile but this won’t be as effective for labour. You can get a health fund rebate of up to 100% depending on level of cover so it may be worth purchasing one. It’s still best to hire a labour TENS for the birth as these machines are very different to the rehab ones.

Remember that any pain must be checked out by a Dr or health care professional and a diagnosis given to ensure there is no problem with the pregnancy before you use the TENS.

I would suggest the Labour TENS if you don’t want to use both and you want to use it for both back pain and labour

Regards, Heather

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Jan 04 2008

How do I buy extra electrode pads

Hi Heather

I have now received my Labour TENS machine and was wondering how I purchase additional pads as my sister is also pregnant and wants to use it later. I know that it comes with 4 but I was told you cannot share pads. I was wondering how to purchase additional ones.

Thank You


Hi Angela,

Good question. That’s correct you must not share electrode pads for hygiene reasons. purchase an extra set via phone 1300 855902 or online. Each set of 4 costs $20 including P & P.

Regards, Heather

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Jan 04 2008

Labour TENS for back pain in pregnancy

Hi Heather,

My midwife told me that labour TENS could also be used for back pain. I am 26 weeks pregnant and suffering back ache constantly.Please tell me if it will work and how I can buy one as I’m guessing its cheaper to buy than hire for a long period. Can I also get a health fund rebate?


Hi Cathy,

Yes health fund rebates of up to 100% are available -just call them. Labour TENS is good for back aches and general aches and pains if you are 37 weeks plus. Please ask your obstetrician first before you use a TENS machine during pregnancy you will need to obtain his consent and use it under medical supervision. After birth you can use it freely for period pains and many other sorts of generalised pain. So yes you’d do well to buy one. You can order online, via phone 1300 855 902 or via post. Pay by check, money order or credit card.

Good luck, Heather

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Jan 04 2008

What happens if I deliver early?

Hi. I wanted to make an enquiry for the Labour TENS machine hire.

I am interested in hiring a unit from 37 weeks onwards, but what happens if I deliver before 37 weeks. Would I still pay the hire rate if I do not receive the machine? Is this money taken out of my account when the unit is sent to me or at the time I have placed the order?

I hope that wasn’t too confusing!!

Thank You,

Hi. You can hire a labour TENS via internet, phone or post. The money will be taken when you place the order. If you think you will deliver earlier than expected let us know and we can arrange for earlier dispatch of the TENS. If you deliver before we have posted the labour TENS machine you are intitled to a refund minus a $10 administration fee. If we have already dispatched the TENS NO REFUND can be given. See full terms and conditions

Cheers, Heather

LabourTENS Forum & Blog » TENS – Questions and answers

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Jan 04 2008

Receipt for health fund rebates

Hi heather,

I have booked a labour TENS and want to claim a rebate from my health insurer as they will give me 100% back. Will a tax invoice or statement come with that so I can claim through my health insurance??

Regards Tania

Hi Tania,

That’s good news. Yes we will send you a receipt with your TENS. usually all you will need a letter of recommendation from your Dr or Obstetrician. Then just send it in to receive all your money back. Let me know if anything else is required and I will be happy to help.

Regards, Heather

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Jan 04 2008

TENS -all rounder for labour/general pain and pelvic floor

Hi Heather,

I am interested in buying a tens unit for use during labour (I used a hire one during my first labour with great success) however I was hoping to be able to use the unit for pelvic floor improvement after the birth as well…I was under the impression that really ‘old fashioned’ tens units could be used for both – but the very modern ones you feature on the website seem to have pre-programmed functions
specific to labour, so I’m wondering if the settings can be changed for other purposes or not?

Do you think a tens is a really effective way of toning pelvic floors, or no better than simply doing exercises?
Thanks for your help,

hI Anne-Marie,

Thanks for your email. If you want an all rounder the best TENS is the Neurotrac  rehab or the Femme elite TENS SEE WEBSITE Both these are suitable for birth, general pain relief and pelvic floor improvement. For pelvic floor use you will need to buy the vaginal probe if using the rehab see picture.This costs $49 and will attach to the end of the wires. I can let you know what programs to use for each function. I would recommend the Femme elite TENS as it has all the programs, plus the probe. You can also buy a specialist continence TENS online. Health fund rebates are available.
Hope this helps

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Jan 04 2008

BUY Labour TENS or ordinary TENS

Hi there,

I’ve experienced the benefits of TENS during recovery from sports injury at my physiotherapists and I’m keen to use/hire a TENS machine for my upcoming labour. However, I see that they can be purchased as well, and I’m considering whether its worth it to buy the actual unit for labour and use afterwards as well but I have some questions:

If I buy the Labour TENS (as it seems specifically made for this purpose), is it still as effective in treating non-labour related back pain down the track as say the NeuroTrac TENS unit (Me or someone in my family seems to suffer from a back injury more often than I get pregnant!!)

How can I be sure I’m placing the pads in the correct position? (both in labour use and treating non-labour related back pain)
How reusable are the sticky pads? How many times can they be reused before they lose their stickiness, assuming you care for them correctly and replace the plastic film after use and store them in the plastic?

Many thanks for your help,


Hi Lisa,
TENS is fabulous for labour pain as well as back pain but unfortunately there isn’t an ideal machine for both. The Labour TENS can be used for generalised pain after birth by you or your family (you’ll need new elecrodes for each person though). You will have to decide if you want it for general pain or labour. If you want a good TENS for generalised pain such as back, knee, shoulder pain etc the NT3 neurotrac TENS is your best buy. If you want it for labour either rent or buy a labour TENS.

The NT3machie will work to some extent for labour but it is unable to switch quickly between rest and boost mode, which is ideal for labour pain. If you decide to buy the NT3 and use it for labour I will give you the best settings but you cannot go back and forth as it resets to zero (like all other TENS except labour TENS).The NT3 has 15 programs to choose from,which is ideal for any type of pain. labour TENS has 2 programs specifically designed for labour.

NT3 comes with full instructions, explanations and diagrams to help you choose a program and let you know where to place the electrode pads. I can also help you via email or phone.
The electrode pads last around 3-6 months average, but it depends how long you use the pads and how well you keep them. They can be pealed on and off many times.

The ideal scenario is to buy a NT3 for general pain and hire or buy a Labour TENS for labour. remember most health funds give you a rebate of up to 100% so it may not cost you anything.
Hope this helps,

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