Tens Unit Hire

TENS is a drug-free kind of pain relief often used by women in early labour. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

A maternity TENS machine consists of a battery-powered, hand-held controller connected by fine leads to four flat pads. The pads are covered in a firm gel that helps them stick to your back.

The machine sends small, safe pulses of electrical current via the leads to the pads on your skin. The pulses pass through your skin and into your muscles and tissues. This gives you a gentle tingling or buzzing sensation, which may be stronger or weaker, depending on the setting level. 

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How does a TENS machine work?

TENS works to help you cope in labour due to a combination of factors. These include:

  • the electrical pulses prevent pain signals from reaching your brain
  • the pulses stimulate your body to release natural, feel-good substances called endorphins
  • it helps you to feel in control of your labour and be less anxious
  • it offers a distraction from your contractions

When should I use TENS?

You can use TENS from the very beginning of your labour.

You could start using it when you’re getting regular contractions or backache. You may find that the machine works better at relieving your backache than other types of pain. This is probably because the pads are on your back.

TENS is most likely to be effective in early labour though you may still need other forms of pain relief as your labour gets stronger.

When shouldn’t I use TENS?

Never use a TENS machine under the following circumstances, without talking to a midwife or doctor first:

  • Before you go into labour.
  • When you’re in a shower, bath, or birth pool.
  • If you have broken skin or a healing scar where you want to place the pads.
  • If you have a cardiac pacemaker or a heart rhythm problem.
  • If you have pain that you don’t think is labour pain. See your doctor or midwife if this is the case.

What are the advantages of TENS?

  • You can keep moving around while using it.
  • It won’t directly interfere with your labour.
  • You can use it for as long as you want to and take it off if you want or need to.
  • There are no lasting side-effects.
  • It’s safe for you and your baby.
  • You don’t need an anaesthetist, doctor or midwife to help you use it.
  • It can be used for a home birth.
  • It’s portable and non-invasive.
  • You control it.
  • It’s easy to use.

What are the disadvantages of TENS?

  • You probably won’t be able to put the pads in place without help.
  • You may find it only gives you relief in the early stages of labour.
  • You‘ll probably need to pay to hire or buy a TENS machine, as not all hospitals have them.
  • TENS can’t be used in water, though you can still use it before you get in a bath or birth pool.
  • If you want your birth partner to massage your back, he’ll have to work around the pads.


I hired a TENS unit for the birth of my little boy and would definitely recommend it. I used it in early labour once contractions became uncomfortable right up until i got to the hospital where I was 7cm. 

It definitely helped me get through that early labour stage so that I didn't spend my energy worrying about early contractions and then I was in the right mindset for the harder stuff!

- Shanice Sahin


We hired a TENS Machine from Carol for my second birth as I had heard good things about them from friends.

Carol was very informative upon collecting the unit, and gave clear instructions of use. We got extra sticky pads; batteries and an information booklet upon use. It was ideal because we could collect it 2 weeks before due date; and I was able to test it out and make sure I was confident in using it before labour.

I used it from the very start of labour and found it really good; I used no other pain relief. I used it in the car to travel to the hospital; and found it a really good distraction to focus on during contractions!

Although I did not use it for the final stages of labour (as I used a birthing pool!) But I would still recommend it even just for the initial stages of labour.

- Lauren Carroll


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15 Terms and Conditions for TENS Hireage

  1. TENs units should only be used in accordance with the instructions provided.
  2. The success of TENs unit in labour is neither guaranteed nor warranted by Freedom Births.
  3. TENs units must not be used by anyone fitted with a cardiac pacemaker, who has a heart disease or suffers from epilepsy. If you have any concerns whatsoever consult your medical advisor prior to use.
  4. Do NOT place electrodes on abdomen, the front or side of neck, or areas of the head.
  5. The pads are very sticky and can be replaced on and off a number of times. Treat with care and have the plastic sheets ready to reapply back again once used.
  6. Skin irritation can occur with long term application.
  7. TENs units must not be used until the pregnancy has reached full term (37 weeks onwards).
  8. The TENS machine cannot be used in water. If the customer wishes to enter a bath, birthing pool or shower, the TENS unit should be removed.
  9. Non-use of the hired TENs unit is entirely at the discretion of the customer and no refund will apply.
  10. Do not use this unit without first reading these instructions and the booklets accompanying the unit.
  11. Do not immerse the TENS unit in water or any liquid.
  12. Do not place it close to any source of excessive heat or operate in the presence of flammable gas.
  13. Do not drop this unit onto a hard surface.
  14. Do not attempt to open the TENS unit and only use supplied batteries and electrodes.
  15. Terms of hire are 2 weeks before and after your due date. $50 hire plus $20 refundable bond if returned undamaged. Extra pads are supplied and can be used at an extra cost of $25 per pack.

In providing Freedom Births with personal contact details, payment and signing; the Customer agrees to the above terms and conditions.

I agree to the above terms & conditions

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