What is Back Labor?

Back labor is a unique pain in your lower back during labor. This type of pain usually presents when the baby’s head is pressing against your spinal canal, so the back of your baby’s head is putting pressure onto your lower spinal cord, aggravating nerves.

How do I know if it’s back labor?

Back pain is a fairly common symptom during pregnancy. It can easily be mistaken for back labor. Back pain can be aggravated due to labor, making it hard to distinguish between the two.

However, the timing, character, and associated factors help with diagnosis.

Back pain in pregnancy can be attributed to multiple causes. 

The most common cause seen in most women is a deficiency of certain nutrients such as calcium or vitamin D that may be causing your bones to weaken. In that case, your body may be unable to cope with your growing pregnancy demands.

Another reason may be poor posture due to your growing tummy size. It strains your back, causing it to hurt even more.

Back pain is usually associated with increased physical work and may be relieved by therapies like hot oil massage, heating pads, or oral painkillers although you will want to consult with your healthcare provider on what if any medication is safe to take during pregnancy.

On the other hand, back labor is not positional. The pain and discomfort persist since it’s caused by the physical pressure of your baby’s head on your nerves.

Can you confuse back pain with contractions?

It it possible to confuse back labor with back pain and not realize that you may be laboring during the early stages. However, if you’re experiencing back labor, the pain worsens over time and worsens with each contraction. 

Along with these symptoms, you may experience other symptoms of labor that may give it away. These include your water breaking, exhaustion increasing, etc.

When does back labor start?

Back labor usually starts when you’re in active labor. It is during the end of the first stage and the start of the second stage when your baby begins its descent through your birth canal.

How can you help ease back labor?

Some comfort measures that may help ease back pain include:

  • double hip squeeze: you can ask a partner or your doula to help you do the double hip squeeze. They need to apply firm pressure on the fleshy part of the hip, below the bone
  • rice sock: if you’re uncomfortable using a heating pad, using a rice sock can be super effective for the back
  • heat pack
  • aromatherapy
  • water labor: laboring in water eases off the pressure on your lower back, alleviating some of the pain
  • Sterile water injections can also be used to ease back pain without any negative impact on labor

If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call!