Podcast Episode #122

How does a TENS machine help in labour?

How does a TENS machine help in labour?

I’m so excited to chat to Shari Lyon in this podcast episode, where we are discussing how hormones and the TENS machine can help labour and birth.

Shari is one of Australia’s leading Hypnobirthing Practitioners and Childbirth Educators.

She is a mum of 2 and self confessed birth nerd and is passionate about supporting women and birth partners through pregnancy to help them prepare for a positive birth and empowered birth no matter how that happens.

In this episode we discuss:

– The role of hormones with labour and birth
– How TENS can help with labour and birth
– Why we think every woman needs to access childbirth education.

** This podcast has general information only. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health or medical condition.

Episode Links

Free Preparing for Birth Checklist

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FitNest Mama Website

Instagram @fitnestmama

 

Shari’s Instagram @belly2birth

Shari’s website: www.belly2birth.com.au

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Transcription:

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that this transcription was completed with computer voice recognition software. Quite often unanticipated grammatical, syntax, homophones, and other interpretive errors are inadvertently transcribed by the computer software. Please disregard these errors. Please excuse any errors that have escaped final proofreading.

INTRODUCTION

If you are pregnant or you’ve recently had a baby, this podcast is for you. I am your host, Kath Baquie. A physiotherapist working in women’s health and a mum of three. Inside my online program, FitNest Mama, I just love helping support women to care for their bodies during pregnancy, prepare their bodies for birth and support their after-birth recovery. Helping them feel confident and strong inside out during this important stage of their lives. In this podcast, join me each week as we dive into all things, pregnancy care, childbirth, and postnatal recovery, helping you through every step of the journey. It is absolutely possible to feel amazing and confident in our bodies during this motherhood journey. And I want that for you. Come and say hi to me on Instagram, @fitnestmama and let’s dive into today’s episode.

KATH BAQUIE

If you are pregnant or you’ve recently had a baby, this podcast is for you. I am your host, Kath Baquie. A physiotherapist working in women’s health and a mum of three. Inside my online program, FitNest Mama, I just love helping support women to care for their bodies during pregnancy, prepare their bodies for birth and support their after-birth recovery. Helping them feel confident and strong inside out during this important stage of their lives. In this podcast, join me each week as we dive into all things, pregnancy care, childbirth, and postnatal recovery, helping you through every step of the journey. It is absolutely possible to feel amazing and confident in our bodies during this motherhood journey. And I want that for you. Come and say hi to me on Instagram, @fitnestmama and let’s dive into today’s episode.

Read More

So, in this episode, today, we discuss the role of hormones with labour and birth. And it really is fascinating. And I know from first glance, it might sound a bit boring talking about hormones, but this can really help. It’s like sometimes a bit of a light bulb moment for women and people when they actually discover how learning about these hormones can totally influence how they perceive childbirth and how childbirth eventuate. So, the role of hormones is huge. And I think everyone needs to have some sort of knowledge about it heading into birth. And we also do discuss how TENS can help with lab or and birth too. So, it’s super insightful, and I trust you’re going to get a lot of out of this episode, especially if you’re pregnant or you’re planning to become pregnant.

Before we do dive into this episode, I just want to invite you to download a free checklist. So, this is all about preparing your body and pelvic floor for birth. So, what I discussed today with Shari, it’s about the mental side of things, the education side of things, this checklist and the way I tackle preparing for birth, it’s very much from a physical perspective. I am a pelvic health physiotherapist and this checklist. It’s all the things you might want to consider to help your body prepare for birth. So, gain clarity with this super quick checklist. It’s easy and simple. Just head to fitnestmama.com/checklist. And the link is in the show notes. All right let’s dive into this episode with Shari.

Shari, thank you so much for joining me today on the FitNest Mama Podcast. I’m super excited to chat to you about all thing’s childbirth, and the use of TENS and hormones and all those beautiful things. So, thank you so much.

SHARI LYON

Thank you, thank you for you know, connecting with me and reaching out I’m, this is what I love talking about. I know you’ve only just press record. But I already started going off on my little you know, informational tangents, didn’t I?

KATH BAQUIE

I had to say, “Stop Shari.” Let me hit record.

SHARI LYON

Yeah. Well, thank you. I appreciate it. And I love talking all things birth hormones. And yeah, I would love to share more information to your listeners about the benefits of using TENS machine as a pain relief for birth. Yeah. Absolutely.

KATH BAQUIE

Beautiful. So, before we get started, for those that don’t know who you are, could you please give us a little rundown of your beautiful business and how you got into it as well.

SHARI LYON

So, I run Belly to Birth. I teach childbirth education classes, and in particular the Hypnobirthing Australia program. I’ve been teaching this program; it’ll be going on 10 years. So, it’s been Yeah, gosh, and that those 10 years have flashed by, but it’s been such an amazing journey. My journey to becoming a hypnobirthing Australia practitioner wasn’t through being a midwife or a doula. I’ve never had anything to do with birth. If I was to tell my 18-year-old self that I would be teaching childbirth education classes as my career, I would have, wouldn’t be never anything that I would have ever expected I would have done. But it was honestly from the experience my own personal experience of birthing my own babies using these techniques to help me overcome massive fear and anxiety about birth I, at one stage in my early 20s, when I was with my husband, I’d said to him, I don’t even know if I want children, because I don’t want to go through that pain, or experience of childbirth, because I’d never heard or seen anything positive about birth, I also truly believed I had a very low pain threshold. And but then with that, I had a huge fear of needles. So, for me, I was up in my head so much about the birth, that I didn’t want to go through the pain, and I didn’t want to have the needles. And so, when I actually accidentally fell pregnant, we did not plan my first baby, it was very much unplanned, it was a beautiful blessing and has been the biggest gift and lesson and life changing experience like all babies are in my life. But he came in at the exact time that he was meant to teach me the lessons that I needed to learn, and that pregnancy was such an awakening for me as a woman and what I’m capable of and understanding, wanting to learn more about my body because no one had ever explained it to me. No one. I had no idea when I sat in my first Hypnobirthing class. And my practitioner said, do you understand how your uterus is designed to work? I looked at her with this blank face. And I’m like, I should know this. It’s my body. I’m like, what is the uterus? Like? I know I have a uterus. But really what is it? Like I had no idea because we’re not taught this as young children or girls.

KATH BAQUIE

Oh 100%. And this is something I think, we need to know the basics from when we turn 13, you know, high school when we start to get our periods, the basics of our anatomy periods, pelvic floor, our pelvis, it’s, it’s like an organ that just gets forgotten about, doesn’t it?

SHARI LYON

Yeah, and it’s not shared, it was never shared by my mother. But that’s because no one probably shared it with her. My mother birthed me via caesarean. So, when it came to natural birth, she had no idea either. So, it was never spoken about, I found that anything that was shared with me about pregnancy and birth was always negative. You know, people always it’s amazing to kind of when you become really conscious of it, how much we are conditioned in our western culture. To us from children, we are conditioned to fear birth, from the movies that we watch from how even people, people always will compare pain with childbirth. Oh, if you’ve gone through childbirth, you can get through anything, you know, it’s, it’s these little sayings that are conditioning us as women, to have no faith in our body to not understand the body. It’s all fear based. It’s all fear driven.

And that was really what the Hypnobirthing Australia program did for me is actually I finally actually had someone sharing knowledge and information with me that when you really take it in you like, this all makes sense. Like it’s it wasn’t anything that it’s so hard to describe it. It was such an awakening moment of going, Oh, okay, so that’s how my body works. All right. Now I understand this. The fears are starting to subside, because I get it. And I’m not flawed. You know, I had been lucky enough to conceive this baby naturally, very easily. And my body was growing this beautiful baby. I had an amazing pregnancy. I know not all women do experience pregnancies like that I had no morning sickness, no reflux, like nothing. And I had to question myself and go, am I actually pregnant? And so, I think that is where to this awakening within myself was very much on a level trusting my own intuition in being like, she was screaming at me saying you are not flawed. You can do this. You just need to learn how. And that’s what Hypnobirthing did for me. And without the knowledge. I mean, my son’s 11 now, so this was almost well, yeah, 11 and a half years ago that I did my course. And the course has changed over the last, you know, 12 years. But I literally emerged from that first session with my hypnobirthing practitioner going, oh, my gosh, I’m actually excited like I can do this. I actually can. I know I can do this. And I stepped out with this whole different perception of birth, and then given all of these amazing tools and techniques, but also for my husband, I think I don’t think he realized how much he was going to get out of this course. Because I think he was he just did what he was told to do. And like I booked us into this Hypnobirthing course, he had no idea what Hypnobirthing was. And I’m like, you just got to be available on a Wednesday night from six o’clock. So, for five weeks or four weeks, whatever we did on him, he walked out, and he was like, Yeah, gosh, I had, wow, that I had no idea how much of a role I had to play in this experience as well.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, and it’s beautiful, what you were saying before about how once you like, this is why it’s so great that we’re chatting today, because we’re talking about the role of hormones and birth. And even this knowledge is so empowering. I remember the first time this really clicked for me, I was like, oh, yeah, it all makes sense. Like, this is exciting. So, on that note, because I know that you could probably keep talking, I’m going to cut you off. But it’s all amazing stuff. So, but I’d love to hear your thoughts about the role of hormones and birth. And then we’re going to take that into the role of TENS and birth from your perspective, because I teach TENS as well and recommend it to all my patients, but it’s so great to talk to you from a hypnobirthing perspective about all of this. So, take it away, Shari.

SHARI LYON

Do we have enough time because it’s like, yeah, I’m going to cut it down a little bit, because this is obviously what I really go into depth in my classes about but ultimately, without these hormones that I’m about to speak to you about, there is no birth, like, it’s we’ve got to remember, we’re mammals. And this is we’re talking from a place of mammalian birth as mammals, all mammals on this planet. This is how we are designed and wired is that through these hormones, it, it gets out, well, one, we’re growing our baby. But when it comes to the birth, there’s a lot of things that need to fall into place with these beautiful cocktails of hormones for labour to start and progress. So, without the hormones, there is no labour. So, like the main hormones of birth, like and a lot of women and you would know as a physio, they, as soon as the woman’s pregnant, the woman is releasing these hormones, like relaxing, that helps just soften all of the ligaments and muscles and allows for the pelvis to have more mobility to accommodate the baby’s descent into the pelvis. So that’s happening right from, you know, the beginning, a lot of women will feel it round that like 28 to 30 weeks from there. But they’re also releasing prolactin, which is getting the breasts ready for feeding. So that’s already happening through the pregnancy. But when it comes to the, to the actual birth, it’s actually as much as we think that we can control when we can go into labour by trying all of these natural things. Ultimately, it’s the baby that triggers these hormones. So, it’s only when the baby is brought, their brains fully developed, their lungs are fully developed, that the baby sends a precursor of hormones to their placenta, which raises estrogen in the placenta, which starts to trigger our hormonal system. So, it’s not like we can just press a button and bang, we release these hormones, it all comes down to when the baby is ready. And every baby’s different genetically. So, some babies already at 37-38 weeks, some babies WON’T BE READY TO 42 weeks. But it’s not that there’s anything wrong with them or wrong with the pregnancy. It’s just how they are. And so that’s where it’s we need to trust that as well. But before labour starts, there is a prep that needs to happen with the body in the cervix. So, there’s a hormone prostaglandin that helps to soften the cervical muscles. And then when it comes to the actual contractions, what they believe and look, if there was someone that truly knew and found out what started labour, they would win a Nobel Peace Prize.

So, what they are understanding is that we have all of 1000s of oxytocin receptors located all around the muscles of the uterus, and they have been able to recognize that these receptors towards those last few weeks of pregnancy start to open up and become more sensitive. And they believe the hormone that starts uterine contractions is oxytocin. So that’s the hormone of love. It’s what we release. When we make love. It’s the bonding hormones. So, it’s not just a sexual hormone. You can feel love for a family member or friend. But when you feel that burst of like love for someone that’s that hormone that is stimulating those feelings throughout the body. And it’s pretty beautiful to think that if you’ve been able to conceive your baby naturally, and whether you can see the baby naturally or with a little help or silence science, you’re still making your baby with love. And it’s that hormone that they believe that triggers the uterine contractions. Because when the oxytocin is released from the brain, it’s released through the pituitary gland into the bloodstream, and it’s picked up in the receptors in the uterine muscles. But it’s the baby that actually triggers that that hormonal release, and we need to be releasing oxytocin all through labour to keep the contractions strong, and to help the baby progress through the pelvis. So, it’s understanding though, how sensitive we are. And that oxytocin is a very shy hormone, it will only come out when we are in an environment where we feel safe and private and unobserved. So, our environment plays such an important role in how we birth, there are other hormones that come into play as well like melatonin, which is the dark hormone, so we’d like to be in an intimate, dark environment. But another woman, which is an amazing hormone that we’re designed to release is called endorphins.

Now, endorphins are the body’s natural, pain-relieving hormone. So, it’s the hormone of pleasure. Anytime anything feels good to you, you release this hormone. When we laugh, we release endorphins, when we make love, orgasm releases endorphins that feels good touch massage, you know, listening to music, exercise. I don’t think I release endorphins when I exercise, but apparently.

KATH BAQUIE

I love it.

SHARI LYON

So that hormone is actually there. And we’re designed to release that hormone in copious amounts to reduce pain. But these hormones also work together. And like I said, I can go on about the days and there’s so much more.

KATH BAQUIE

Absolutely. And what you’re saying reminds me of the, you know, the dog that has got babies, and it’s about to give birth, and you’re the dog, not that I’ve ever had a dog in the house that gives birth. But it’s not going to give birth in a bright room with lots of people running around that dog or the cat that’s about to give birth, it’s going to find a quiet, dark corner or a cupboard, you know, and give birth in that quiet environment where it feels safe. So, I like to think about that. So, if you’re thinking about your birth environment, how can you make your little dark, quiet cupboard where you know that you’re safe? And you’re not having to? Like evolutionary? What would we have been running away from lions?

SHARI LYON

Well, exactly, and we’ve got to understand that as mammals that we still have that instinctual fight or flight response, but we don’t have lions and tigers, we don’t have those environmental threats physically to us that want to eat our babies anymore. But we’ve got to understand as mammals, we can still perceive a threat, and our body will act in the exact same way. So that threat could be looked at, I’m just talking from a place of understanding our medical system in being like, they’ve put a timeline on you in saying if you don’t have your baby, by 41 weeks, we’re going to be inducing you. Because if you we don’t induce you, then your risk of stillbirth rises. And I hate saying that, but this is the information that women are getting and how do you think that’s making them feel threatened, fearful. And if we’re in a state of fear, anxiety, stress, or worry, that stress or hormone is going to come in to protect us, and we will instinctively go into the fight flight freeze or appease or fawn it’s called response. Now, this is where we’re releasing that stress hormone instinctually, our body’s going to go, this is not a safe time for us to birth. So therefore, labour won’t start labour can stall if it has started if we do feel threatened. And we’ve got to be really careful and understand this, then this is exactly just as I go into so much depth with this because…

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. This is a huge topic, but I don’t necessarily want to get on to this podcast. But can I be a devil’s advocate and just ask you a question that’s always at the back of my mind.

SHARI LYON

Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

So, let’s say we know the stats about stillbirth and, you know, all the, I guess, inverted commas “bad things” that can happen once your baby gets over a certain age stage. How do you how do you marry that up with this concept of staying relaxed? Like how you do not I mean, like how, what happens if you are approaching 42 weeks and that anxiety is creeping in and you’ve got your doctor saying something like how do we how do we deal with that?

SHARI LYON

Well, and this is why it’s important to understand how we’re different to other mammals. Right, so that mother cat is not thinking about the stillbirth, right, that mother cat, or dog is not… we actually wouldn’t even put a timeline on her. Do you know what I mean? So, we as humans, how we’re different to mammals, we stay still have those same instincts as all other mammals on the planet. But what makes us different is that we have this huge prefrontal cortex or the neocortex. We have the largest neocortex of all mammals that and allows us to have cognitive thinking. And so, this is kind of where that neocortex has done great things for us in our evolution. But in some ways, we know too much. And therefore, we as humans are also creatures of certainty, we’d like to be certain of an outcome, when we’re not certain of an outcome, we will tend to always focus on the worst-case scenario, everything that can go wrong. And when we are in that state up in that, that neocortex, and we’re and that’s what causes anxiety, and fear is caused by the thoughts that we’re having. So, it is hard, because we do want to know and understand the risks, because we as humans also want to try and control and mitigate risk as much as possible. And there are risks to natural birth, there are risks to induction, there are risks to caesarean. And it’s just, it’s understanding the risks, and being able to assess the risk of do we wait, what are the risks if we do that, but then what are the risks of induction? What are the risks of caesarean? What are the risks of epidural, and being able to have this information to assess and that’s when we feel like when we’ve got all the information, we can make an informed decision. And be confident in the decision making that we do make? Because we’ve been given all the information.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, like right answer. And I think in addition to all that, that you just said, is trusting your healthcare provider too. Because if you’ve got that mutual trust, and you can know that they’ve got your best interests, like, you know, they’re going to work within the timeframe that’s safe for you, and bubs, and all the rest, too. So.

SHARI LYON

Well, it’s there, they’re there to support you, and to ensure that you are safe, and your baby is safe. But they can’t support you unless they know what you want. And when you are, if you are approaching this birth going, will you just tell me what to do, you’re putting all the decision making and responsibility on them. And that’s a lot for another person to feel that responsibility. So, they will also want to try and mitigate as much risk because that’s what their job is as medical professionals. So, they will have to tell you what the risks are from what they know and their experiences. But when you are educated, and you know, and have good quality questions, and you can have good quality conversations, that’s when you can really trust, okay, the information that they’re giving you being able to assess the risks of what they’re saying, against potentially what you want, and you know, how you can help yourself and then that’s where you’re going to make that decision together.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, absolutely. And this is why having these conversations and discussions before you’re in the thick of it, you know, before you’re at 40-41 weeks, or you’re in labour is so important, because you can digest the information in a calm measured manner, versus being in the heat of the moment.

SHARI LYON

Exactly. And that’s where you can, then when you are doing some kind of like the education that you know, we provide, then we can give you really good techniques to stay calm and bring focus and, and to reduce, you know, the chance of an intense or painful situation. And, yeah, it’s just empowering yourself really, and I think no one can empower you only you can empower yourself.

KATH BAQUIE

Okay, so I love what you just said about that, that question that I just throw at you. So, thank you for answering that. Okay, let’s go on to the role of TENS now and how that can impact everything you’ve just been talking about with hormones and childbirth process. So, let’s take a step back and I’ll let you answer this what is TENS?

SHARI LYON

Okay, so, TENS machine stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, ah, that’s such a coolness.

KATH BAQUIE

Oh my god. Let’s repeat that.

SHARI LYON

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Basically, what that means is that it is a small device that connects with wires to some electrode pads that is then placed around the back in the lower back. And what it does is it sends like impulses, electrical impulses into the muscles that stimulates the muscles, so it and you can control how intense you want that steam relation is there’s a lot, there’s a lot of them becoming way more like really popular, like, I’ve got 11 machines that I hire out just locally to my clients on the Gold Coast. And they are always booked out. So, it’s becoming more of a, even though it kind of looks medical, because you’ve got this in this device, it what it helps to do, what they believe it helps to do is helps you to stimulate those hormones of endorphins. And so, when we can use it in early labour through to the active labour, you’re bringing those endorphins in to help reduce the pain, hopefully, of the uterine contractions when labour starts.

KATH BAQUIE

Interesting. So, you’re thinking it helps with the hormone production, whereas I’ve always talked about them as a way of sort of masking pain, which I guess does help with hormone production, doesn’t it? Let’s say you bump your leg on the corner of a desk, it’s going to really hurt, and our natural instinct is to rub our leg because we’re providing us a different sensory input on that pain. And we’re bombarding the pain. So instead of the pain, the brain perceiving pain, the brain is perceiving you rubbing your leg. So, it’s different sensory input. So, but yeah, you’re absolutely right. So, you’re no longer it’s like you’re confusing the brain. So instead of perceiving pain, you’re, you’re feeling this electrical, it’s like a buzzing if you haven’t used it. It’s like a buzzing pins and needles, the tingling sensation.

SHARI LYON

Yeah, I like to refer to it as a contraction distraction. So, it’s bringing a different focus into a different sensation. So, it’s, it is the same as what you’re saying. But it can help you yeah, it can change your perception of pain as well. And what I understand too, and I’ve read up about it is it can also act upon, it’s called the gate control theory. So, like when you’re using the TENS machine at a low intensity level, is probably working through what they call the gate control therapy, which says that there’s only a certain amount of stimuli that can get through to the brain. And when you have the sensation of a uterine contraction, and then a whole another sensation, it’s like the brain is going to choose which one to, and so there’s that distraction from that intense uterine contraction. That’s, that’s kind of my understanding of it. And with the clients that hire the TENS machines from me, I would say 90% of them would say like, it was an amazing, pain relieving technique for tool, it’s just another tool for them. It’s not going to remove pain, but it’s about where you bring your focus to.

KATH BAQUIE

And I think it is important to highlight that is that researchers found, the research is a bit. There’s no firm solid research, but the thought is that it, it may be helpful, and it may not be helpful. But as you said, Shari, it’s a tool to your toolkit. And its low risk, it’s not like taking medications, it doesn’t have those systemic effects, it’s very much local to that back and that the external skin area.

SHARI LYON

Exactly, and it won’t affect your labour. So, it won’t slow the labour down like some medications can. So, you know, it’s just a, it’s like a, it’s a really good option. And it’s becoming a lot more popular now. And you can control the intensity, if you don’t like it, then you can just take it off. So, it’s all controlled by you. Whereas once you have that epi drawl, or if you have that morphine or pathogen once that’s injected in the bloodstream, you can’t get it back out until it wears off. So, it’s just a good option to consider. And they’re quite affordable, you know, you can hire them for like $75. So, it’s not expensive either. And there are specific labour and birth TENS machines that also have different modes and functions, which then the ones that I have other L TENS. Machines, they have a boost function. So, when you’re feeling that contraction starting, you can boost the sensation and it brings this the buzzing, muscular stimulation up to its intensity. And that’s that shift of focus of okay, I’m going to focus on that rather than on the contraction of the surge itself.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, and the other thing I love about the L TENS is that it times you contractions at the same time as when you push that button and I have distinct memory I did use an obstetric TENS but it was a different brand. But it didn’t time the contractions and I have memories of sitting there or standing or whatever else doing then I had the TENS machine in one hand and I had my phone timer on the other hand, it was just all the app I was using an app, but it was just both my hands were use and I think I just love the fact that it’s one thing and it you can attach it to your belt or what you know, your clothes or whatever, something like that. So, you can have your hands free. And it sounds really simple. But I actually remember thinking this is just annoying holding two things.

SHARI LYON

Yeah, yeah. I think also, you know, it might also come into play is that it can help reduce anxiety for women that they do have something that they can turn to that they can control. Because there’s, you know, we can’t control really the sensations of our contractions or surges. So, to have that feeling like okay, I’ve got something that I can control through this can also help to reduce intensity. But I do find those women though that come back going up I hated it didn’t like it, they didn’t use it from early labour. And this is what’s really important if you’re going to hire a TENS machine that in the, because when I normally hire them out from around 37 weeks, and that you can practice it in those with it in those last few weeks. So, I say to my mums, don’t wait until you’re in labour, and then you’re slapping on this whole different sensation that you’ve never felt before. Use it in the days and weeks leading up just have it unlikely you can walk around the house, it’s gone the old lanyard and unclip like feel into the sensations, see how much you can intensify and what you can. And I even get my mums to practice the breath work through it. So, it’s they’re practicing that, okay, there’s this intense sensation that’s coming into the body, but they can control that. And it’s really important that you don’t wait until you’re in pain to put it on that you start using it from early labour. As soon as your surges, contractions start, even if they’re cramping and light, just pop it on and pop it on low. And that’s what can also because the body will release endorphins when pain is there to help reduce that for us. So that’s why if we can be releasing those endorphins early on, then they’re going to be there when we’re in that active those throes of labour, your body’s going to be releasing that already.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. And I love that tip that you just provided. And it’s exactly what I tell my members to because that’s what I hear mostly is if it wasn’t useful, they put it on too late, when they’re already in the thick of it. So great tip, do you have any other quick tips for using the TENS?

SHARI LYON

You can’t use it in water. So, if you are hoping to use the shower or birth in water, you’ll have to take it off. And that’s where I told my mums if you’re doing that after having the TENS machine, I recommend getting a labour comb because that can be the next focus. So, it’s a comb that women hold in their hands to bring a different sensation into the hand are the tips are, you know, get your show your birth partner how to help you put it on, we only put it on around the back, you never put it on around the front. So, the electrode pads do not go on the belly, they only go on and around the back. With the L TENS you get four electrode pads within the packs. So, you have to have two pads on at any one time because there’s like a positive and negative charge. So, they won’t work. If you only just put one pad on, you’ve got to put the two pads on for it to be stimulated. But you could just have the two pads, you could have the four pads, you can even buy smaller pads and have more. But I find the four pads that are kind of they’re about maybe three or two and a half, three inches in length, and maybe two inches in thickness. And you normally put them on between kind of mid, the middle of the back down around and you can pop them on acupressure points around the sacrum as well. So, it’s stimulating those points too.

KATH BAQUIE

Yep, great tip. And while we’re on that topic, I will say if you’ve got a pacemaker or history of epilepsy, or any skin irritations, and for everyone just check all the warnings on the packet. But generally, they’re really well. They’re really safe and well tolerated. But just there’s a couple of those things. So just check with your doctor or with the packet.

SHARI LYON

Yeah, and also, please don’t think that all TENS machines are the same, because there are TENS machines that are more for muscular contraction and release, which is more for like rehabilitation of injuries. So, if your mum’s got a TENS machine, it’s not necessarily going to be the right TENS machine for labour and birth. So, you don’t want a TENS machine that’s going to really stimulate contraction and release of the muscles. It’s more of a like it’s a gentle stimulation. It also brings blood flow as well to the area. So that’s that also helps.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, love it. Got to love a good TENS. I lived off it with my first.

SHARI LYON

I didn’t know about it. Yeah, I had no, I personally have not used them in labour and birth. When I’ve got one here, I do put one on my back for back pain.

KATH BAQUIE

And what I’ve remember is I think he can flick the boost button. So, it’s on the whole time, which I think I did from like when I was pushing the transition, just because it’s happening quite regularly. And yeah, it was a pain to hold it. So, I just had it on hardcore the whole time for the last few minutes. And then I remember once I’d finally given birth, and the baby was on my chest, and you know, the energy of the rooms coming down slightly, and then I remember feeling this thinking, what is that sensation? And then I realized, I still have the TENS on full bore. Bruce button. 20 minutes. Yeah, some great tips.

Okay. I think it’s been fantastic chatting about everything. And I know, we could talk forever. But I guess that’s what the Hypnobirthing course is for. But to wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom for pregnant mums who might be listening today?

SHARI LYON

Oh, this is such a beautiful journey you’re embarking on, and I think protect yourself from negative stories or information. And I guess it’s understanding your options. And I think that’s what’s really important because if you don’t know your options, you don’t have any. And some of you may not have never even heard of a TENS machine. So, I hope this has stimulated the question of going, okay, maybe we can learn more. There’s so much out there that we can learn with, you know, the podcasts that you’re doing and things like that, but education is one of my top tips, I guess. And you know, and I know, that’s what I do. But I know I think many first-time mums hope and expect that their medical caregivers are going to give them all the information that they should have. And they don’t necessarily have the time to do that. So, this is why connecting or doing some kind of independent childbirth education program will really help you understand all of your opposite options to stimulate questions to go and have really good conversations with your caregivers, and create a birth map. Not necessarily a birth plan, but a map and understanding. Okay, if I want a natural birth, what can I do to help me achieve that as much as possible? What if I need an induction? Let’s talk about induction and understand induction when it’s needed for medical reasons, even caesarean birth, and then when you understand all of the options, and you have this map, you become the driver of the experience, not a passenger.

KATH BAQUIE

Yep, couldn’t have said it better, myself. Love it. Absolutely. And on that note, just before I forget to mention it I there is another podcast episode on TENS If you’d like to learn more about that, and we’ve also got a podcast episode on Hypnobirthing for Caesarean birth. So, I’ll link that in the show notes too.

SHARI LYON

Amazing.

KATH BAQUIE

Amazing, Shari, to finish off with let us know how we can find you if we want to learn more about you and your services that you provide.

SHARI LYON

Yeah. Thank you. So, my website is belly2birth.com.au and its belly, then number 2, birth. I offer hypnobirthing Australia courses face to face on the Gold Coast. I offer a number of face-to-face courses here. But I also teach live online zoom classes, which I’m just loving because it’s just opened me up to connecting, I teach women from all over the world now. So, it’s if you’re not on the Gold Coast, you can still work with me. And honestly my Instagram I love sharing on Instagram. So go and follow me there.

KATH BAQUIE

And your podcast.

SHARI LYON

Yeah, podcast which we’re going to have you on, which I’m really excited. So that’s the Nurture Hub of Pregnancy and Birth Podcast with my host Nicola Leigh, who is an amazing breath breathing coach. She’s just I love her. She’s divine. But yeah, we share a lot of information there.

KATH BAQUIE

Amazing. Thank you so much for this fantastic chat. It was so lovely to talk all things birth and all things birth and hormones and TENS it was perfect way to start the day.

SHARI LYON

Thanks for having me.

KATH BAQUIE

Okay, well chat to you soon.

So that’s it, ladies. Don’t forget to check the show notes for all the links and how to connect with Shari at fitnestmama.com/podcast. Otherwise send me an Instagram message. A DM message. What is that? A message on Instagram, @fitnestmama. I would love to hear if you’ve listened to this episode and how you found it. That’s it, ladies. See you next week for another episode of the FitNest Mama Podcast.

Thanks for listening to the FitNest Mama Podcast brought to you by the FitNest Mama Freebies found at www.fitnestmama.com/free. So please take a few seconds to leave a review, subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. And be sure to take a screenshot of this podcast, upload it to your social media and tag me, @fitnestmama so I can give you a shout out too. Until next time. Remember, an active pregnancy, confident childbirth, and strong postnatal recovery is something that you deserve. Remember our disclaimer, materials and contents in this podcast are intended as general information only and shouldn’t substitute any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. I’ll see you soon!

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