TENS machines are certainly worth trying if you are hoping to use a form of drug-free pain relief during your labour.


Ideally, you'll start practising using your TENS around 37 weeks into your pregnancy, so you're equipped to use it correctly when you're in the throes of giving birth.

You either rent or buy your TENS machine, though the prices are all pretty similar - and whether you rent or buy really depends on how much use you want to get out of it, if you'll use it again for future births, etc.

Not sure where to start? Here's everything you need to know about TENS machines, and it's worth knowing that TENS machines are suitable for most people, but they’re not recommended for:

  • Use in early pregnancy
  • Women with epilepsy, heart problems, heart pacemakers or any other kind of metal/electric device/implant
  • Not suitable if you hope to give birth in a bathtub or birthing pool or are in the shower

So, before you try one out, it’s important to clear it with your GP or midwife, just to be 100% sure about any possible risk factors.

Best TENS machines at a glance

Check out 5 of the best TENS machines to help relieve labour pains...

1. Babycare Elle TENS2, £75


Why we love it: It's the Silver winner in our Best Hero Pregnancy Health Product category at the MadeForMums Awards 2018, so it's a tried-and-tested lifeline during painful labour.

Plus it's got a handy contraction timer as part of the device.

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about the Elle TENS 2:

“I’ve used a TENS machine previously and found the Elle TENS 2 much easier to use. I really liked the timer, which helped see how regular my contractions were, and I found the cord to hang around my neck really, really useful.

"The spare battery and spare lead provided gave me peace of mind in case I needed them. I was able to place the pads on my back on my own as my husband was at work.

"The fact that it can also be used for headache, period pains, back ache and so on gives it more value for money.” Mum of 2, Caroline

“The Elle TENS2 was an essential part of my pain relief during labour. The unit is very easy to set up, use and adjust to suit your needs.

"The boost function during contractions is excellent and easy to activate when needed. My favourite feature is the contraction timer.

"It allows you to use just one piece of equipment and because it is activated with the boost function you don't need to worry about pressing more buttons. The Elle TENS2 was great during early labour and I used it right up until the pushing stage.” Mum of 1, Sarah

Available from: Babycare TENS

2. Boots TENS Maternity Unit, £39


Why we love it: This Boots machine costs to buy what many cost to rent for the duration of your final weeks of pregnancy.

So, it's a solid investment, especially if you are planning to have more than one child, or even just find yourself with aches and pains from time to time (you can use it for other pain conditions, too).

We also like that it comes with a lanyard to help you keep your hands free.

Available from: Boots

3. Perfect MamaTENs, £44.99


Why we love it: This one's cheaper than the classic MamaTENS, but still comes with 3 pre-set pain relief programmes for each stage of labour.

We also like the boost button, so you can ramp up the pain relief during contractions - however suits you best.

Available from: Amazon

4. MAMATens, £73.99


Why we love it: This TENS machine is a classic make, the buttons and interface are as straightforward as they come, and the device comes with 3 pre-programmed, pain-relieving settings.

It also has a 'ramp' and 'boost' function - useful for those extra sore contractions.

It comes with pads, like most models do, but also, it comes with all of the necessary batteries to get yourself started.

Available from: MAMATens

5. Babycare Obi TENS Maternity, £44.99


Why we love it: This machine is simple, and really easy to manage.

It comes with batteries and everything you need to get started for labour, but if you want to practice using TENS before labour, you'll need to spend another fiver on extra electrodes.

You can turn it on or off, up or down, and the boost the pain relief you're getting using the big BOOST button. All in all, it's a really easy option.

Available from: Babycare TENS

Images: Product websites

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