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Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a method of pain relief involving the use of a mild electrical current. There is insufficient high-quality evidence to support its use as a reliable method of pain relief, although some practitioners have reported that it seems to help some people, depending on the individual and the condition being treated. Some women have found TENS to be useful in the early stages of labour, but it has not been shown to be effective during the active phase. The National Institute for Health and Care Evidence guideline on intrapartum care states that starting to use a TENS machine once the woman is in established labour will not help with pain.

Further reading

NICE. (2014). Intrapartum care for healthy women and babies. Clinical guidance 190.

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