What is Back Labor?

Back labor is a term used to refer to labor in which the majority of pain and discomfort is felt in the mother’s back.  Roughly 1 in 4 women will experience back labor.  This pain is usually very harsh.

Back labor typically occurs when the baby descends into the birth canal with its skull hitting the mother’s spine.  This is referred to as the "occiput posterior" position.  This pressure often causes constant severe pain in the back.  The pain may radiate to the abdomen, but the center of pain will be the back. 

Some women may get relief from the back pain involved in Occiput Posterior through the use of a local anesthetic.  However, this is not guaranteed.  There are several other things that the mother can do to help labor be more comfortable, including:

–  Using counter pressure on her back.

–  Having someone assist with a "hip squeeze" massage.

–  Pelvic rocking or other activity to gently move the pelvis, to help encourage the baby into a proper position.

–  A chiropractor may be able to realign the pelvis to improve the position of the baby.

–  A birth ball may encourage good positioning for the baby and relieve some of the mother’s pain.

–  Various exercises done on all fours can help, such as wiggling your hips from side to side, or arching your back like a cat, followed by dropping the spine down.

–  In early labor, walk up stairs – sideways if you need to.

–  March or ‘tread’ on the spot

–  Step on and off a small stool

–  Use kneeling or all-fours positions. Kneeling on one knee can help.

–  Avoid lying on your back, semi-reclining, sitting or semi-sitting.

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If you have a concern about your condition, please contact your doctor.

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