Often, there is so much information to take in with regards to labour, that many people don’t know the facts from the falsehoods.  Here is the truth about: Back Labour.

Back Labour

Many women experience intense lower back pain when in labour.  Often it can be a constant ache, or it can come and go.  ‘Back Labour’ is usually due to your baby’s head pushing against the sacrum and lower back.  It is also thought to occasionally be caused by a baby in the ‘occipito-posterior position’, in other words, when baby is facing the stomach as opposed to the back.

A comparison of the most common head positions a baby may present with.
A comparison of the most common head positions a baby may present with.

Most women don’t describe back labour as being extremely painful; it is more often described as an intense ache.  However, if it is constant pain, it is more difficult to ignore.  Women can try prevent having back labour during their pregnancy by regularly performing pelvic tilt exercises, sitting on a birthing ball often, and keeping her knees lower than her hips when sitting during the day – these exercises are to try and prevent the baby from taking on an occipito-posterior position.

There are a few ways that are thought to help ease the pain of back labour.  Kneeling on all fours is found to be of big help, because gravity moves the baby’s head off the lower back and sacrum, therefore decreasing the discomfort.  Bouncing on a birthing ball and performing pelvic tilt exercises also helps minimize the pressure in your back.  Massage of the lower back helps many women, so make sure you have a loved one or doula present to help with this – counter-pressure on the lower back seems to help relieve the pain in a big way.  You could try massage with a tennis ball against the lower back during or between contractions.  Warmth also helps the pain, so try get into a warm bath or shower, or use a hot water bottle on your lower back.

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