How effective is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for pain relief in labour?
The risk of bias in these studies was generally high. Few studies provided clear information about sequence generation or methods used to conceal group allocation. It is not known whether TENS would help women to manage pain at home in early labour.
TENS has been proposed as a means of reducing pain in labour. The TENS unit emits low-voltage electrical impulses which vary in frequency and intensity. During labour, TENS electrodes are generally placed on the lower back, although TENS may be used to stimulate acupuncture points or other parts of the body. The physiological mechanisms whereby TENS relieves pain are uncertain. The TENS unit is frequently operated by women, which may increase sense of control in labour.