A Quick 5 Minute Guide: How do I use a TENS Machine?

As a midwife, birth educator and mum of 4 there is one thing that I personally recommend for all labours – A TENS Machine!

Some of you may be thinking “What is a TENS Machine and why do I need one?” Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. A TENS Machine is a small handheld device that sends tiny little electrically impulses through the skin layer. It works by blocking the pain pathway to the brain, meaning less pain signals are able to be received and interpreted by the brain. Through this quick 5-minute guide, we will walk you through the simple steps to set up your TENS Machine ready for your labour and birth. Helping you to make your whole birth experience easier and more comfortable.

Here's how to set up your TENS Machine for birth in just 5 minutes:

  1. Check your equipment and read the instructions: Make sure that you have hired your TENS Machine from Bliss Birth and check that everything you need is in the bag. This includes the TENS Machine, Electrode Pads, Batteries, Lanyard and Instruction Card.
  2. Make sure that you have a clean back: It is important to make sure that your back is not wet and you don’t have any oils/lotions on which may impact the conductivity of the electrical impulses of the TENS.
  3. Apply the electrode pads: Your TENS Machine will come with electrode pads. Peel off the backing and firmly press the pads onto your lower and upper back, either side of your spine.
  4. Connect the leads: Next connect the lead wires to the electrode pads and then into the TENS Machine unit. With your Bliss Birth TENS Machine, it doesn’t matter what colours you connect the wires up to. Just that you have the top two electrode pads connected to one wire and the bottom two electrode pads connected to another wire.
  5. Turn on your TENS Machine: Turn on your TENS Machine and make sure that the ‘BIRTH’ option is flashing. Start your TENS Machine on a lower level that is comfortable as it is important to turn your TENS Machine up as you move through the stages of labour. This will help boost your endorphin levels and maximise your pain relief for labour.


There you have it! In just 5 minutes, you can have your TENS Machine up and running, ready to go for your labour and birth. It is important to always follow the instructions on the card provided to you and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about the use of a TENS Machine in your labour. TENS Machines are a valuable tool for labour and birth, it is also important to consider a comprehensive birth plan that aligns with your personal preferences and medical advice.

Remember, that every birthing experience is unique and what works for one person may not work for another. Stay informed, be prepared, attend birth education classes and make the choices that suit you and your family!


Written by Lauren Brenton
Endorsed Midwife
Founder of One Mama Midwife Pty Ltd

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