By Jackie Scrivanich, Contributor
Back labor is a type of labor that women can experience. This type of labor is characterized by intense lower back pain during contractions, often with pain lingering between each contraction. Read more about back labor and what you can do to avoid it during pregnancy here.
We can do everything to prepare for labor, but sometimes there is nothing that we can do to avoid back labor. This is especially true if you have had a back injury or have a pelvis that is abnormally shaped.
The best thing to do, beyond preparing your body during pregnancy, is to get as many tools as you can to help with back labor so during labor if you experience it you know what to do.
Just like with any other pain management technique for labor, what works for one woman might not work for another. Having this list handy or having a well-educated birth partner or doula would be very beneficial to any laboring woman.
How to Manage Back Labor
There are many techniques that can be used to help manage the pain from experiencing back labor. Again, not all of these techniques will help every laboring woman.
*Belly lift—While standing, the laboring woman would lift up on her belly during a contraction. This will help to alleviate some of the pressure felt on the pelvis.
*Rebozo sifting—This can be used during pregnancy as well to help reposition baby. Here is more information regarding this technique.
*All fours—Laboring on your hands and knees while relaxing belly completely will help pull baby down and off of the back.
*Pelvic tilts or Cat/Cow stretch
*Counter pressure on lower back—This is a huge help for most women. Get a strong and steady person to do this. You will know the spot. Having someone use their thumbs or fists or even a tennis ball can help to alleviate some of the pain in the lower back.
*Massage—Usually this would be between contractions where someone would rub the lower back.
*Double hip squeeze — Have your partner or doula press your hips together during a contraction.
*Warm bath or shower—Being submerged in warm water can help, also a shower can relax a laboring woman and help.
*Hot water bottle or cool pack (or even alternating) on lower back.
*Short walk—This can help to ease pressure and improve fetal position.
*Straddle a chair and lean forward
*Lay on side during contractions—This puts baby in a different position during contractions and may help.
*Sterile water injections—This is where small amounts of sterile water are injected just beneath the skin in four places on the laboring woman’s lower back. At first it is painful, almost like a bee sting, but then there is pain relief that can last for 1-2 hours. There are no side effects to using these injections. They serve as almost continuous counter pressure on a woman’s lower back. There will most likely still be some discomfort during a contraction but it will be less than before. Unfortunately for most women, the injections will only work once or twice, therefore waiting until closer to the end of labor to use them is important.
There is a book that focuses solely on back labor that may be beneficial to read if you have experienced back labor during a prior delivery or if you are just interested in learning more. The book is Back Labor No More by Janie McCoy King.