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Back Labor: What Does It Feel Like

calendarDecember 16, 2016
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What does back labor feel likeWhat Does Back Labor Feel Like?

A lot of women consider back labor pains as contractions that peak right away instead of easing in and out. Women refer their feelings about these pains, using such expressions as «severe pain», «awful» or «I never want to feel it again». Some women compare such pressure with lower back and tailbone breaking with each contraction.

This article will share some methods of relieving the pain, some Relaxing Techniques and other useful information that will help you to overcome undesirable feelings.

Is Back Pain a Sign of Labor?

If you are 40 weeks pregnant and have a back pain, this is pretty likely to be a sign of labor. Consult your doctor whether the position of the baby is normal and whether this is the time to go to the hospital. Only a specialist could give you the best advice how to cope with back labor and how to change the position of the baby for good.

Which May Mean the Pain Nature and Localization?

The strong pain and pressure in lower back that is described in this way may be a sign of pyelonephritis: in this case, we can observe the increased temperature, bad changes in the general health state, color and smell urine changes. It may be a sign of urolithiasis: in this case it is impossible to find a position in which you would fell easier. There will not be any vaginal discharges, but there may be some visible blood in the urine.

It may be the first labor sign: the pain of this nature at 39 weeks term may be a labor sign that is accompanied with the pathology. In this case, there may be the pain periodicity and the interval will be not always reduced (there are such concepts as the discoordinated labor contractions, the poor uterine contraction strength).

Back labor symptomsWhen severe pain in the back take a horizontal position and call ambulance

It may be a sign of the suture line disruption from the previous caesarean operation. In the case of such dangerous pregnancy complications development, there will appear weakness; the pressure will be felt not only in the lower back, but also around the abdomen. There may be a drastic pressure drop, the bleeding from the genital tract, the faintness. Such pain is the strong reason to call the Ambulance. You can only take a horizontal position and put a rectal candle with papaverine before its arrival.

1. Nagging pain

This type of pain is typical for normal pregnancy. In this case there are no other symptoms (your doctor should confirm it), in case of pyelonephritis, threatened abortion – in the early stages, training contractions after 36 weeks, early labor in the third trimester.

2. Pressure in lower back that shoots up the leg

If the pain appeared after 20 weeks and it became stronger after some loads, including walkathons, standing or comfortless sitting, it is a symptom of increased load on the back bone and the abdominal muscles of a gravid uterus.

Some neurological diseases (osteochondrosis, intervertebral hernia, scoliosis) will also cause this symptom, but it is the only symptom without any discharges or health changes. In case of such symptom, you should be examined by an obstetrician and a neurologist.

3. Pressure in the lower back and abdomen

This symptom is typical for: Hicks (training) contractions– in the later stages. There are no other symptoms, your health does not suffer, there is no disjunction from caesarean section, an ectopic pregnancy in the early stages, the threat of spontaneous abortion or premature labor, pyelonephritis.

4. Pain and pressure of the lower back from the right and left sides

This sign indicates a pregnancy pathology (it may be the risk of premature birth and uterine rupture), starting labor, some pathologies of the back bone (which are usually manifested before pregnancy).

Is Back Labor Dangerous?

No, it is only one of the early signs of labor, if you experience it at all. It cannot harm you or the baby. The worst thing about this condition is that it exhausts you because of the pain, so you should rest as much as you can. What might be dangerous is that some positions of the baby in the womb could cause difficulty in the descending of the baby through the birth canal and thus lead to complications.

Consult your doctor about the position of the baby. The specialist will advise you whether additional interventions such as forceps assisted birth or Cesarean delivery is necessary.

What Is Back Labor Caused By?

Back Labor is usually caused by the pressure of your baby's head against your lower back. This means that the position of your baby is a key factor whether you will have such pain. However, this is not the only possible cause. Some health specialists suggest that this lower back pain might be caused by pain signals from the uterus.

This sounds logical because many women have low back pain during a period. Moreover, a study has shown that women with a lower back pain as a symptom during their periods are more likely to suffer from back pain during labor. Back labor is often combined with other problems such as an irregular contraction pattern, a slowly progressing labor and a prolonged pushing stage. You can relax, though, because having back labor does not mean that you will have problems with giving birth.

What Does Back Labor Feel Like?

During the weeks of pregnancy you get used to various kinds of pains and feeling uncomfortable. But as your due day approaches you might meet a new challenge – back labor which could be caused by a few factors. This is the pain and that serious discomfort which many pregnant women experience in their lower back soon before labor. This condition is not that common - most women will only have some soreness or slight cramps in the back area.

Still, at some point during labor, around 25 % of the women giving birth report having serious discomfort in the lower back, for example, severe back pain on the left side. As "back labor" refers to the intense lower back pain that many women feel during contractions when they're giving birth and even between contractions. If you are among these 25% of pregnant women who experience it, you will be happy to know that there are ways to relieve it.

The pain usually becomes more intense during contractions but the lower back area often remains painful between the contractions. Signs of back labor are a strong pain in the lower back and stiffness in this area.

How Can I Cope With It?

Back contractions5 Thing you can do when labor stalls

The best thing to do is to try to find the reason why you received back labor. Consult with your doctor and discuss with the specialist when the pain appeared and whether you have experienced similar pain during your menstrual period. This will help the doctor determine the reason why you are suffering from back labor.

If your health specialist considers that your pain is caused by fetal position, there are useful techniques that could change the position of the baby and relieve your condition. If the doctor is not sure about the reason of your back labor, trying to change the position of the baby still might help. For example, if the left side of your lower back hurts, the moving of the baby will release the pressure and relieve the pain. You can also try various techniques to reduce the pain.

How Can I Relieve the Pain?

Here is what you can try to cope with the pain:

  • apply hot or cold compresses to the painful area;
  • apply counter-pressure but be careful not to hurt yourself;
  • take a warm shower or a bath;
  • apply a heated rice sock;
  • take a position down on the floor or on a solid bed on your hands and knees. This will help you keep the baby’s head off your spine;
  • switch your positions while lying in the bed. You should not lie on your back because this will increase the pressure over your back and, as a result, you will feel a stronger pain;
  • ask someone around you to apply firm pressure with hands or with a small ball to the areas that hurt the most.

You can also help yourself by applying pressure on your back with something that can be easily rolled down your body, such as a water bottle, a ball, a can and others.

Exercises for relief of lower back pain may include the following exercises:

Exercises for relief of lower back painSource

  1. Lie down on your back, put your legs on the chair, keep yourself in such position for a few minutes, breathe with your belly.
  2. "Bicycle" exercise in the prone lying position.
  3. Air inlet – you shoul move as you want to gather in tailbone, hold the breath for 10-15 seconds and relax.
  4. Exercise "cat" that has to be implemented without stress, easily and free.
Applying compresses

Warmth can help you feel better, so you may try to take a warm shower or bath or use warm compresses if you experience back labor symptoms. Actually, some women react better to cold compresses. You can also try to apply a cold one after a warm one. Do not apply the compresses directly on the painful area. Use a towel to cover the skin and then you could put a cold or warm bottle, a warmer or something else which is suitable for this purpose.

Water injections

For some pregnant women sterile water injections are helpful to relieve back labor pain. You should inject small amounts of sterile water just under the skin in four places on the painful area of your back. You should be prepared that the injections will be painful for a while, but then you might experience relief that lasts for a few hours.

Combining repositioning methods and relaxing techniques

This gives you the best chance to relieve the painful back labor. Pay attention what makes you feel better and keep doing it but be careful not to waste too much energy for this. You are going to need this energy pretty soon. Because the steady counter pressure applied on the lower back could bring you some relief, ask someone to push on this area with fists during contractions or massage it with a small ball.

Diet to Reduce Tailbone Pain

  • In order to reduce tailbone pain during pregnancy, it is necessary to keep the diet carefully. You should include calcium that is contained in dairy products, nuts, greens and fish in the diet.
  • In case of the musculoskeletal system disorders, it is necessary to keep to the calcium diet even before the fetation.
  • Women are recommended to eat 100g of the cottage cheese, eat cheese and drink up to 500 ml of yogurt or milk every day.
  • There is a lot of calcium in the beets and beans, so you should include these products into your diet during the entire period of childbearing.
  • There is a large amount of easily digestible calcium in the eggshells. For its usage, firstly, you have to boil the egg, remove the envelope from the shell, to incinerate it on the pan and to grind in a coffee mill. It is recommended to use 0.5 g of the eggshell for the one meal.
  • In order to digest the calcium as better as it is possible, you need to breathe fresh air. The utility is not only in the air, but in the body's ability to absorb sunlight, which is responsible for the vitamin D output. This vitamin ensures the best calcium utilization.
  • In order to prevent pressure in the lower back, the pregnant woman also needs magnesium that ensures calcium utilization, like vitamin D. In addition, the magnesium deficiency during pregnancy can trigger spontaneous abortion and premature birth.
  • The magnesium ensures bone flexibility and strength, enhances the body's resistance to stress, relieves irritation, relieves abdominal and lower back cramping and normalizes the bile outflow and intestinal peristalsis.

The Position of the Baby

Often, this is the reason for back labor. If your baby is facing your abdomen, this could cause pressure from the baby’s head over the tailbone. This position is called "occiput posterior" and is most likely the reason if you have back labor. When your baby has taken similar positions, this could result in having severe discomfort in the lower back during labor. Have in mind, though, that the "occiput posterior" does not always cause back labor. Also, you might have back labor that is not a result of the position of the baby.

What to Do to Change the Position of the Baby?

The following techniques can help you reposition the baby which will probably release the pressure on your back and relieve the pain:

  • sitting backwards on a chair or on the toilet;
  • walking;
  • squatting and lunging;
  • using a rebozo or sheet to shift the pelvis;
  • pelvic tilts and hula-hoop exercises;
  • sitting on a birth ball.

Have in mind that whatever you try, it is very important to avoid exhaustion. Back labor is pretty painful and exhausting by itself, so you should preserve your energy for labor as much as you can. Perform exercises gently and stop as soon as you feel that the baby is moving or that you need rest.

Can I Do Something to Prevent Back Labor?

You cannot predict whether you will have back labor or other early signs that you will give birth soon. Still, if you experience menstrual cramps in the lower back area during your menstrual period it is more likely to receive back contractions and pain during the last weeks of pregnancy. Also, if you have experienced back labor during a past pregnancy there is a bigger chance to have the same unpleasant condition during the next pregnancy. There are a few steps that could save you this problem. You should try to ensure the best position of the baby before delivery.

Prenatal Bandage Wearing

If the tailbone pain during pregnancy is connected with the back bone diseases, in order to relieve it, you have to provide your back with rest and to unload the back bone. Unless the pain has remitted, the woman is assigned the complete bed rest.

The choice of a good prenatal bandage plays a significant role in the constant back pain prevention in the second and third pregnancy trimester.

It not only facilitates the increased load on the back bone, but also contributes to the appropriate baby position in the womb. Thus, thanks to its daily wearing, you can avoid even constant back pain that is common for all pregnant women because of the fatigue.

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