pregnant woman having back pain


Back Labor can be excruciating.


Back Labor also known Posterior Labor most often occurs when a baby has his or her face toward the belly button and the back of his or her head pressing into the spinal column- sometimes called “sunnyside up”.  This is usually the cause, although not always, nothing in life- or birth is a sure thing.


Mothers are more prone to experience back labor if they experience back aches as part of menstruation.


Mothers can help prevent their baby from settling into this position before labor begins, and the baby is engaged in the pelvis.  Like the old adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Here are some ways to prevent the issue:


1)     Avoid reclining in the weeks leading up to your due date. The goal is to avoid tipping your pelvis backwards. Reclining and putting one’s feet up sounds fabulous, but reclining can encourage a the baby to settle in a less than ideal position


2)    Keep your knees lower than your pelvis- this encourages the forward tilt of your pelvis.


3)    Stay active-walking is great! Walking is a great way to gently encourage your baby to descend and it helps keep labor going once it starts. If walking is cumbersome- consider water walking, the benefits of walking in the soothing weightless water environment.


4)    Practice pelvic tilts or Cat/Cow stretches.


5)    Do a modified Child’s Pose, keeping your bum elevated and your chest to the ground, like a dog’s play bow.


6)    Crawl around. Really. Trust me on this one. I cleaned my baseboards and floors quite often- they were gleaming when my babies came.


7)    Visualize the baby, talk to him or her. Encourage him or her to get in the best position to for him or her to be born in. It can’t hurt.


8)    Take a warm bath- or consider a water birth.


9)    Avoid squatting- this encourages a baby to engage in the pelvis.


If labor begins with a posterior baby:


1)    Don’t worry too much


2)    Ask if the midwife can help massage the baby and gently encourage him or her to turn


3)   Chiropractic care can help a baby turn or engage properly.


4)    Using a rebozo, your midwife or doula can help take the pressure off of the back and encourage a baby to turn. When interviewing doulas and midwives ask if they are educated using a rebozo as a labor tool.


5)    Consider a water birth or get into a bath or shower. Often the water flowing and/or floating can relieve a lot of the pain.


6)    A midwife can also help you utilize belly lifting to encourage your baby to realign.


7)    Sitting on the toilet leaning forwards can be the most amazing feeling of relief and may encourage a baby to turn. I tell moms to sit backwards on the toilet and lean onto the tank. This way I can offer a shoulder rub easily.


8)     Another helpful position for labor is on all fours this takes the weight of the baby and pressure off of your back.


9)    Counter-pressure. Use tennis balls, thumbs, or knuckles to help provide pain relief. This may feel good for some mothers but awful for others.


10)    Acupressure. This is a good You-Tube Video of finding and using Sacral Acupressure during labor. Often there is one or two spots that are just perfect. However, they can change as the baby descends.


The baby will come out.  He or she will be born.  Pregnancy will not last forever, even though sometimes it seems that way.


Sometimes there is a reason a baby is presenting the way he or she is, often in this case with anterior placentas or cord placement.


Having a baby in the ‘sunny-side’ up does not mean a long, hard, painful labor filled with back labor. Some babies are born in this position very quickly and with minimal, or no pain at all.


If all else fails an epidural is an option, it often relieves all kinds of labor pain.  They can slow labor if used to early so try and manage a bit first before getting one, ensuring your labor is well established.


Congratulations on your newborn!!!


Leave a Reply