Pain relief in labour by transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

J.T. van der Spank , D. C. Cambier, H.M.C. De Paepe, L. A. G. Danneels, E. E. Witvrouw, L. Beerens

Received: 15 January 2000 / Accepted: 20 May 2000
Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics: November 2000, Volume 264, Issue 3, pp 131-136


For several years Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has been used in the management of chronic and acute pain. The aim of this trial was to determine its effectiveness in providing pain relief during labour as well as its influence on the incidence of requests for epidural analgesia. The experimental group (receiving TENS by a burst – conventional obstetric TENS-apparatus) and the control population (not receiving TENS) consisted of 24 and 35 women respectively. In the experimental group the TENS application was switched off for a period of 15 min. The 24 women were asked to point out the intensity of their pain on a visual analogue scale before, during and after this temporary interruption. Two days postpartum the parturient’s satisfaction was evaluated by two questions, a procedure which revealed that 96% degree of satisfaction. The incidence of epidural analgesia in the experimental group was compared to the control-group. During TENS application the pain scores were significantly lower (p<0.0001), but no statistically significant difference in incidence of epidural analgesia was found between the experimental group and the control group.

Keywords: Keywords Electric stimulation, Labour, Pain, Physiotherapy, TENS, Analgesia

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