As you are preparing for labor and delivery, our job as doulas is help you learn about the possibilities that can occur. One of those possibilities is that you experience back labor.
What is Back Labor?
Back labor occurs when your baby is pushing against your spine, and with each contraction discomfort is felt in your lower back. If you are having steady back pain, it most likely is not back labor, but another lovely pregnancy symptom. Furthermore, if your back labor is not increase and decreasing with your contractions, it most likely is not back labor.
There are some theories that back labor is due to baby’s position in your uterus, and while that can be true, it also can be based on the size of your torso, any previous injuries that you have experienced, bad posture while pregnant, and a whole host of other reasons. The bottom like is back labor can be pretty uncomfortable.
Preventing Back Labor
When your doulas meet with you for your second prenatal appointment, they will teach you some wonderful comfort measures for early labor. We always encourage our clients to test out this comfort measures prior to birth to see what they like and do not like, but also to encourage to find the optimal positions for daily activities. Being flexible, staying active, and finding ways to stay comfortable, are all great ways to reduce the chances of experiencing back labor. Regular prenatal massages are always a great way to ensure that your hips are open and relaxed, while also making room for your baby to properly descend.
However the best way to reduce your anxiety about back labor is not to dwell on it. The stress associated with the "what if’s" are never good for you and your body, and if you do experience back labor, you will still end up delivering your baby. And if you don’t experience it, you increased your stress level unnecessarily.
Tips for Helping With Back Labor
Shower Pressure: Sitting on a birth ball, in the shower, with warm water spraying on your lower back feels ah-mazing if you are experiencing back labor. We are so luck to have so many birthing locations with showers that are for you to enjoy this great comfort measures.
Counter pressure: Having someone push on your lower back, either where the pain from back labor is located, or just below, can usually provide some great relief.
Gravity: Standing, squatting, and other ways where gravity will help your baby move past your pelvis will help reduce back labor.
Heat: Hot towels, a heating pad, or even a sock with rice that was put in the microwave for a few minutes will help relax your back to reduce the feelings associated with back labor.
Doula Support During Back Labor
Regardless of your plans for pain management, back labor is something that will be felt. As doulas, we can assist you implement the above comfort measures to help manage the discomforts of back labor. We also can use a rebozo to move your hips and pelvis to help better position your baby away from your spine. And most importantly, we will be there to emotionally support you when you feel like you cannot make it to the next contraction. Plus so much more!