Tips to soothe back labor pain include getting off your back, switching positions, hugging your hips, getting a back massage, applying heat or cold compress, water injections and staying hydrated.
Labor during pregnancy is probably the most demanding experience a woman’s body has to go through in her lifetime. Many women prepare for this time by reading extensively about labor, consulting experts, physicians, talking to other women about their experiences and by working on preparing their body for it. If you have been doing some reading about labor, you must have come across the term “Back Labor”. What is back labor, and what does it feel like?
Back Labor Pain and Tips to Soothen It
What is Back Labor?
Back labor refers to the pain and discomfort some women feel the experience in their lower back region during labor. Most women experience at least some pressure or pain at their back during labor, but during back labor this pain is unbearably excruciating. About a fourth of all pregnant women report experiencing severe pain in the lower back. This back labor pain is most severe during contractions and often painful between contractions.
Back labor is characterized by irregular contractions, slow labor progress and a prolonged pushing stage.
What are the causes of back labor?
The most common cause of back labor is an unusual position of the baby in the mother’s womb. Positions such as occiput posterior, in which the baby is facing the mother’s abdomen, can cause pressure to be applied from the baby’s head to the mother’s tailbone or sacrum, resulting in a tremendous amount of pain. However, a baby in an odd or unusual position doesn’t always result in back labor. Conversely, back labor isn’t always the result of an odd position of the baby; there can be other reasons as well.
The good news is that back labor by itself does not prevent any harm to the mother or the baby. On the downside, it can cause issues and delays in the birthing process and result in the mother requiring more pain medication, a prolonged labor and the need for using forceps or vacuum to aid birthing.
If you feel like your baby is in an odd position, there are measures that can be taken to correct it, such as walking, squatting and lunging, sitting on a birth ball, pelvic tilts and hula hoop dancing. For more measures, consult a physician. There are many other reasons for back labor, some of them which can’t be prevented. Therefore, the best you can do in some cases is to hope that you do not have to experience back labor.
8 Ways to Soothe Back Labor Pain
If you do, however, here are a few ways in which you can help soothe the pain.
During back labor, there are several things that a mother can try to ease the pain. However, it does take a little physical effort so you have to brace yourself.
Get off your back
Lying on your back during back labor is one of the worst things you could do to yourself. It is guaranteed to worsen the pain. Do not lie on your back if you are experiencing back labor. Lie on your sides, or get on your hands and knees. Getting on your hands and knees may even help improve the fetal position.
Back labor puts a lot of pressure on the lower back for the mother. Therefore, lying in the same position can make the pain worse. Switch position between your contractions– try going through five contractions on one side, five on the other, and five more on your hands and knees. Rotating your body helps to rotate the baby and also relieves pain by preventing the pressure from being applied to the same place for a long time.
Hug your hips
Between contractions, get on your hands and knees and ask your partner or your support person to hug your hips and push inwards. This helps alleviate the pain.
Read More: 11 Ways to Relieve Labor Pain
Get a back massage
This is a counterpressure measure. Basically what you have to do is ask your partner to massage your lower back or roll something spherical around the area, such as a tennis ball or a wooden roller. This will apply pressure on the outside of your lower back and help counter the pain coming from the inside.
Apply heat or a cold compress
You can take a hot shower or a hot bath to ease the pain a bit. You could also apply a hot water bottle to the affected area. Similarly, a cold compress can also be tremendously effective for pain relief.
Keep moving around
If your condition is the result of an odd position of the fetus, sitting down in one position could actually make it worse. What you have to do is keep moving: walk, squat, sit on a birth ball, do some pelvic tilts or any other exercise that helps you to expand your pelvis. Along with relieving the pain, this could actually improve the fetal position as well.
Read More: Morphine for Labor Pain: Is It Safe for You?
Sometimes midwives use water injections to inject some water into the skin near the tailbone region. This provides a sort of cushioning and spreads the pain around, thus giving the woman a few hours of relief. However, the water can sting quite a bit while going in.
Your body needs a good amount of water to do its work during labor. You need to keep yourself hydrated in order for your muscles to work correctly. Having more water in your system can also have a pain alleviating effect during labor, be it back labor or normal labor.
These are some of the measures you can take in order to help soothe the pain you feel during labor. Sometimes changing the fetal position can help with avoiding back labor. However, it is not possible to tell if you will experience back labor prior to the labor period. However, studies have shown that women who have experienced back labor during their first childbirth are more likely to experience it again during their next, unless preventive measures are taken. These measures, therefore, can really be helpful to alleviate pain from back labor and sometimes even help prevent it.
Read More: ways to relieve labor pains