Back Labor-Causes & Tips To Deal With It

Pregnancy is an absolute blessing. We agree. However, labor and giving birth are some of the most physically challenging events a woman will experience. Labor alone is uncomfortable enough to put a toll on the mother. To make it worse, some expecting mothers (about 25%) experience back labor.  Do you know the back labor hurts worse than regular labor?  The good news is that, there are things you can do to bring down the intensity of the back labor. Read on to find out more about back labor and how you can ease the discomfort.

What is back labor?

Intense lower back pain during active labor. The pain peaks during contractions, and persist between the contractions. During contraction, the belly will tighten as usual. The pain that begins in the belly would slowly spread to the back. Eventually, the back labor will completely take over the labor pain, so that, the mother may not even aware of the pain induced by the uterine contraction, instead all she could feel will be the intense, burning, and lightening pain in the lower back.

To make things worse irregular contraction, prolonged pushing phase and slowly progressing labor comes hand in hand with the back labor

What causes back labor?

#1. The position of the baby

A frequent agreed reason of back labor is the position of the baby. Positions such as occiput posterior (also known as face up or sunny side up) can lead to back labor because baby's head is pushing against the spine of the mother, applying intense pressure on the mother's sacrum (the tailbone). In spite of this fact, a baby in an odd position does not always result in back labor. Similarly, back labor is not always the result of a baby's positioning.

#2. Short -waisted mother

Women that are short-waisted may experience back labor because their baby is longer than their torso.  During each contraction, there is a downward force, but instead of the baby pushing down on the cervix, because of the lack of enough room for baby to turn, the baby pushes down on mom's back. This paves the way for the back labor.

#3. Tight ligaments

Tight muscles and ligaments can make it hard for baby to get into a proper position and can even change the shape of the pelvis, thereby, giving rise to back labor.

#4. Bad posture

Bad postures during pregnancy can bring about back labor.

#5. Back injury or ligament pain:

If the mother had a back injury, she has more chance to experience back labor. Ligament pain may also cause back labor.

#6. Back pain during menstruation:

Some studies point out that a woman who experiences back pain during her menstrual cycle may have more chance to experience back labor regardless of the baby's position.

How to ease back labor pain during labor?

In early labor, back labor was completely manageable. However, as the labor progresses, you should learn how to manage this intense pain. Balancing and opening the pelvis is the key to urge the baby to settle into a more favorable position and, thereby, bringing down the back labor. Here are some techniques to do just that:

  • Use gravity to your advantage by standing and sitting.
  • Walk with shoulders back and pelvis tucked
  • When sitting, lean forward a little (not back) and make sure your hips are higher than your knees.
  • Squatting. Squat with back flat against the wall and feet flat on floor
  • Sit on a birth ball, either up straight or leaning forward
  • Do rebozo sifting (a long piece of fabric used to shake to and fro the pelvis to release tension)
  • Do rebozo hanging (grab the hanging rebozo and allow your knees to soften)
  • Pelvic tilts and hula-hoop dancing
  • Do abdominal lift during contractions
  • Get on hands and knees. This position takes the pressure of the baby off mom's back and can encourage the baby to rotate into a better position.

Back pain relief

If the baby is in the best position and you are still having back labor pain, here are some techniques to help ease discomfort:

  • Hot  or cold compresses applied to the lower back
  • Strong back counter-pressure applied by your delivery partner on the sacrum, a flat bone directly above the butt crack.
  • Strong hip-counter-pressure by gently squeezing the hips in and pull ever so slightly back away from mom.
  • Hypnotherapy: Birthing tub or shower
  • Heated rice or buckwheat sock
  • Applying pressure to something that rolls down the back. Let it be a water bottle, beverage can, tennis ball or even hollow rolling pin.