A labour pain management plan

Most women prepare for the event of childbirth by working with their midwife on a pain management and birthing plan. You might prefer to minimize your use of pharmaceuticals. For a healthy mother-to-be, there are a couple of good reasons for this:

  • It feels like the best thing to do for your baby
  • It means you will stay alert and active during the delivery process

When labour TENS has been suggested

If your midwife or obstetrician suggests labour TENS to you, then we recommend our ActivNatal product. It has gained a very high reputation with Australian expectant mothers.

  • Labour TENS is non-invasive and drug free
  • It can be used in conjunction with pain relieving prescription medications
  • TENS can also be used in combination with relaxation, meditation and breathing techniques

The ActivNatal control unit is tiny, easy to wear and simple to operate.

Recommended labour use of ActivNatal

As your due date draws near, make sure your ActivNatal battery is fully charged.


At the first sign of early contractions, we suggest you use the RELIEVE mode of ActivNatal in preparation for stage 1 labour. In this way you can begin your pain management plan long before you arrive at the hospital or birthing centre. RELIEVE mode helps the body release its own natural analgesic hormones - the ß-endorphins.

If you position the pads on your lower spine at this point, you will not have to worry about them later.

Stage 1 Labour

The LABOUR mode is a constant pulse at 50Hz, offering maximum sensory nerve stimulation for pain gating affect.

Switch from RELIEVE mode to LABOUR mode at your discretion. You can use LABOUR mode or a combination of LABOUR and RELIEVE modes through to the end of transition.

Our suggested TENS component of your strategy for Stage 1 labour pain management is:

  • Ensure the LABOUR mode is selected
  • Turn up the intensity as the contraction builds
  • Maintain the intensity for the duration of the contraction
  • Turn down the intensity as the contraction subsides
  • Between contractions, turn the unit down or turn to RELIEVE mode for further ß-endorphin release
  • When the contractions are at their strongest and longest, you may leave the controls on a fixed intensity LABOUR mode setting OR
  • Continue to adjust the intensity to suit your own needs

One of the greatest benefits of ActivNatal is that you can keep walking about as much as you like - with the control unit secure in the lanyard and totally self-contained, it will not inhibit your freedom.

But if you are taking a shower, please remove both the control unit and the pads. Even turned OFF, the device is not compatible with water.

Labour TENS pad placement

labour tens electrode placement

We recommend you use the Large Electrode Pack for this purpose.

Large Electrode Pack 7.5cm*13cm

The Large Electrode Pack (LEP) contains 2 gelled TENS pads. Each electrode measures 7.5 cm x 13 cm.

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Labour TENS pain relief guide

Purpose ModeIntensity TimeWhen
Early labour RELIEVE MODELow to medium Several hoursBefore you leave for hospital
Stage 1 labour to transition LABOUR MODEHigh - increase intensity with contraction Duration of contractionWith contraction
Labour TENS machine
ActivNatal Labour TENS and EMS
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ActivNatal Hire

$70.00 AUD + PH, for 5 weeks

Published clinical trials researching TENS use for labour pain management are limited and equivocal.

However, many women find the pain relief offered by ActivNatal labour TENS to be beneficial and satisfactory. TENS does not eliminate all pain, but it reduces the level of pain and puts the mother in control of her own feelings and expectations.

Also, these women draw comfort from the thought that they are reducing their intake of analgesic drugs.