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-   -   What causes back labor? (http://www.mothering.com/forum/213-birth-beyond/1205996-what-causes-back-labor.html)

DeChRi 03-16-2010 11:59 PM

I am pregnant with my third. With my first two I had horrible back labor. I know many times this is associated with babies positioning. However, to my knowledge, my babies have never been positioned in an akward manner. Are some people just more prone to back labor, regardless of baby position?

MaerynPearl 03-17-2010 12:09 AM

in my experience... genetics play some part in it. My grandmother, mother, aunts, cousin and myself have all suffered through back labor, while my cousins on my fathers side did not.

I dont know if thats just the muscles that play more of a role for us or what... but as far as I know position didnt play much part (two of those back labors, for example, were with frank breech babies... and both of mine were facing the correct way)

http://www.pregnancy-info.net/back-labor.html wow that has some interesting info in it... like that you are more likely to have back labor if you have back pain during menstruation (very very very much applies to me! I need a hot pad on my back every time AF shows)

Stitches 03-17-2010 01:19 AM

I found that link really interesting. I had back labor with DD (her head was asynclitic), but I'm also the type to have back pain with my period. My mom had back labor with both hers, I was a posterior baby. I have often wondered if there is a genetic component to it. I too am really hoping that this time I will not have back labor!

MaerynPearl 03-17-2010 01:25 AM

because of your history, I strongly suggest you read all the info you can on ways to help relieve it (positioning, massages, warm shower on your back, etc.)

When I was in early labor with DD it didnt seem so bad... until my knees started going numb and I had to get off them... as soon as I changed positions OH it hurt! and the car ride was torture because my old cars seats reclined!

bcblondie 03-17-2010 02:52 AM

Lurking here becuase I'm not pregnant but I had back labour with DS. I had an anterior placenta but the baby was positioned fine, apparently.
I also have horrible cramps during AF, all through my lower abdomen, my back, and even my upper legs.
Strangely enough, I didn't have the AF type pain during labour... it was MOSTLY just back pain and bum pressure. Which I can handle a lot better than AF pain so I'll take it.

ASusan 03-17-2010 02:59 AM

I had 12 hours of back labor. I have rarely, if ever , had pain or back pain with my periods. DS was positioned normally.

The ONLY thing that relieved it was DH - and sometimes the doula - doing a serious double hip squeeze.

A rebozo wrapped around my hips, pulled tightly by me, helped with the contractions during the hour-long car ride to the hospital

The interesting thing was that when we learned the double hip squeeze in childbirth class, we were the couple chosen to demo it. It was the only thing that felt REALLY really good and relieved pressure then (at about 7.5 mos). And, no other couple in the class found it very helpful.

I did have a slightly bulging disc, that was completely squished out a year later, requiring surgery. I haven't yet recovered from the surgery , which was a year ago.

DeChRi 03-17-2010 11:50 AM

I need to read the link when kids allow. During AF I don't get really uncomfy, but IF is feel anything it is lower back ache. I am taking notes on the hip squeeze too. I'll look over the link and comment back.

mambera 03-17-2010 05:25 PM

What is the definition of back labor then anyway?

My labor pain was almost entirely in my back as well (and it REALLY HURT) but DD was positioned normally. So is that still back labor then?

I sometimes get very mild back cramps with AF but never more than that.

bcblondie 03-17-2010 05:50 PM

Oh... I figured some people would still get the AF type pain along with the back pain. I'm not too savvy on the subject. I just know from my own experiences.

umsami 03-17-2010 06:57 PM

There was an interesting article that linked it to thyroid hormones...

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/ma...iclekey=109667


Quote:
The study looked at the thyroid levels of 960 healthy pregnant Dutch women and followed-up on their deliveries. The findings were published online Dec. 23 in Clinical Endocrinology.

Women with significantly higher levels of a specific thyroid hormone, called T4, at 36 weeks of pregnancy were more likely to present with a fetus in the normal delivery position, the study found. But women with lower levels of T4 at 36 weeks of gestation were more likely to need assisted delivery because of an abnormal fetal head position, it found.
Personally, I think it may be genetic... and may be pure bad luck! (Having had three already.)

AmyKT 03-17-2010 07:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post
What is the definition of back labor then anyway?

My labor pain was almost entirely in my back as well (and it REALLY HURT) but DD was positioned normally. So is that still back labor then?

I sometimes get very mild back cramps with AF but never more than that.
I've never quite been sure if what I had was back labor or not. I know that my back and thighs hurt really bad -- much worse than anything else-- and the hip squeeze was the only thing that helped, and although I had plans of squatting and walking and all kinds of positions, all I could manage was to lie flat on my back (although that hurt, too). Was that back labor? It sucked. I hope it's different this time.

ETA: Looking back at my post, it sounds really dumb for me to ask that question. I can't imagine that it wasn't back labor, with my description. I do also get back pain during my periods.

justKate 03-18-2010 05:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeChRi View Post
I am pregnant with my third. With my first two I had horrible back labor. I know many times this is associated with babies positioning. However, to my knowledge, my babies have never been positioned in an akward manner. Are some people just more prone to back labor, regardless of baby position?
I had severe back labor. DD was sunny side up, but from a PP's link (thanks!) that doesn't seem relevant. I also get serious back pain with AF. I felt NO pain in my abdomen whatsoever during labor. Nada. Just my back. I vomited a lot from the pain... Ended up with an emergen-c-section after 28+ hours with no baby descending and an erratic/accelerating heart rate.

I think if I'm lucky enough to have a second try, I will be more assertive and spend some time writhing on the floor instead of sitting indian-style in the bed hooked to the monitors, trying not to fall off of it. I'll be less concerned about what fluids are going where and just do what feels right. Live and learn, right?

savithny 03-19-2010 12:22 AM

I experienced both my labors as rhythmic back pain.

My first was posterior most of the time during pregnancy, though he did rotate and come out properly. WIth him, the back labor was more pronounced -- I didn't feel *anything* in my belly - the midwife had her hand on my belly and said "Oh, there's a contraction," and I didn't know it was happening until a few seconds later when the stabby back pain hit.

My second, I did feel some tightening up front, but no pain up front. She was NOT posterior -- and the labor was quicker and easier.

I think it may just be how I'm wired.

I will say, though, that both times, while it was back pain and "back labor," neither was it as excruciating as some people have described. It was a building wave of pain centered in my lower back that built to a stabbiness, but it subsided with every contraction and did not last between them.

treespeak 03-19-2010 12:35 AM

Not sure how often this applies, but the current issue of Mothering has an article on Mayan abdominal massage which talks about women with a tipped uterus being more likely to experience back labor (if the uterus is tipped backwards, specifically). Mayan abdominal massage is supposed to aid bringing the uterus back to a neutral position, but since it is contraindicated during pregnancy, it wouldn't help the OP at this point. Perhaps before future pregnancies though...I did try Mayan massage before conceiving DS, but didn't notice any changes in my mestrual cramps etc. Could have been that my practitioner wasn't very thorough.

Girlprof 03-19-2010 12:51 AM

I was SO sure I wasn't going to have back labor. My SIL did but she had been in a terrible car crash and her back is really messed up. So, of course, I had wicked back labor too. It remains odd to me that some people feel contractions in their stomachs - can't quite imagine how that might be.

I think my DS was posterior and flipped during labor. But I have no such excuse for DD, who definitely wasn't and didn't. I am betting on bad luck.

The only thing that helped was intense pressure and/or water on my back. That helped a lot, but the pressure had to be very hard.

treehugginhippie 03-19-2010 12:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by treespeak View Post
Not sure how often this applies, but the current issue of Mothering has an article on Mayan abdominal massage which talks about women with a tipped uterus being more likely to experience back labor (if the uterus is tipped backwards, specifically). Mayan abdominal massage is supposed to aid bringing the uterus back to a neutral position, but since it is contraindicated during pregnancy, it wouldn't help the OP at this point. Perhaps before future pregnancies though...I did try Mayan massage before conceiving DS, but didn't notice any changes in my mestrual cramps etc. Could have been that my practitioner wasn't very thorough.
Just wanted to say that you can do the Mayan abdominal massage during pregnancy...it's just a modified version. I was taught how to do it when I was 8 weeks pregnant and did it until 20ish weeks I think.

Aka mommy 03-19-2010 01:13 AM

I do not know, though i'd love an answer. Instead i'm looking at how to cope.

DD#1 - 39 hours of horrible back labor. She was posterior but flipped and was born normal.

DD#2 - 12 hours of labor, 2 hours of which were the hardest and most painful. The rest were enjoyable. All was back labor. She was born posterior with a nuchal hand.

Surrogate daughter - 2 hours of hellish, hard, back labor which i literally thought would kill me. She was never posterior and delivered normally. We have no idea what the cause was, one mw said i had caused it in my head.

I feel my ovulation in my back, i feel cramps in my back, and my kidney's tend to be bad. I also have an extra vertebrea in my saccral region, makes me wonder if there is a connection. Interestingly enough i also have a tipped uterus and my thyroid goes overactive after birth.

Sijae 03-19-2010 01:15 AM

From the article linked above "However, a study of hundreds of women in labor reported that women whose babies were in the "sunny side up" position were no more likely to complain of back pain than women whose babies were facing down or sideways."

This is an odd bit of phrasing. None of those positional terms besides sunny-side up which generally refers to posterior babies is specific enough to even know what she's talking about. She also doesn't share her sources which means that this statement isn't reliable.

ETA: looked around on that site some more and it's complete junk IMO.

lifeguard 03-19-2010 04:12 AM

Interesting thread. Ds was good positionally & I had excruciating back labour. A hot shower or dh pushing on my back VERY hard were the only things I found that made it bearable. I also spent my whole labour bent over the bed or on all fours.

AllofGrace 03-20-2010 01:49 PM

Okay, this is going to be a little lengthy

I had horrible back labor with my first two (pain from the top of my shoulders down to the top of my knees---contractions were like massive charlie horses). First one was asynclictic and a vacuum extraction; second was a posterior induction that I delivered on hands and knees without extra intervention. I just delivered my third last week ---same size as the first two--with MUCH less pain (though still in the back, just legs, not up the back) and a MUCH shorter labor--he was born 15 min. after I got to the hospital!!

What made the difference? What I learned from my chiropractor/cranio-sacral therapist, Dr. Carol Phillips, about the bio-mechanics of labor (she's the one who trained the author of spinningbabies.com--I found her info there and found out she lives near me!!). I'm convinced the work she did on me made all the difference; even though I came to her at 38 weeks with a sometimes transverse, sometimes diagonal baby, two sessions did the trick giving me a perfectly positioned baby and a rapid labor

So what does she believe causes back labor?
1. Tension in the mother's muscles/ligaments and misalignment of bones, which often results in the uterus being torqued inside a misaligned pelvis, resulting in a
2. Malpositioned baby who can't get in the right position because of the uterus' constraints. Baby is generally born with tension/torque in its body resulting in all sorts of problems like torticollis, colic, tons of spitting up, reflux, etc.

SO, is it genetic? In her years of studying, teaching, and "doulaing" over 700 births, Dr. Phillips has concluded that it's not "genetic"--as in the genes--- but it IS passed on from mother to daughter, because all the females come out of the same tense uterus. The baby girls are born with muscle tension from their bad positioning, causing them often to have repeat difficult labors like their mothers UNLESS.....

they get help and get the tension and malpositioned back/pelvis issues worked out.

What exactly helps? Just straight chiropractic work---"pop your back/neck" DOESN"T work if your muscles and ligaments are tense. Massage and cranio-sacral work is needed before readjusting bones, or else they won't hold.

Check out her website: http://dynamicbodybalancing.com/

Her book and 1st DVD are really helpful (I'm in no way trying to sell a product---I've just been immensely helped in the last few weeks!)

arianascrunchymama 03-20-2010 02:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllofGrace View Post
Okay, this is going to be a little lengthy
So what does she believe causes back labor?
1. Tension in the mother's muscles/ligaments and misalignment of bones, which often results in the uterus being torqued inside a misaligned pelvis, resulting in a
2. Malpositioned baby who can't get in the right position because of the uterus' constraints. Baby is generally born with tension/torque in its body resulting in all sorts of problems like torticollis, colic, tons of spitting up, reflux, etc.

I had serious back labor with DD and she came out posterior with her brow presenting so I first attributed my back pain to that. My pain was constant and I had TONS of prodromal labor. I never felt tightening in my abdomen- it was always a stabbing, twisting pain in my lower back radiating up to my shoulder blades. She spit up tons for 8 months, but it never bothered her and she gained weight perfectly.

I know that my muscles are out of whack and see a chrio regularly and love deep tissue massage. I don't know if I have a tilted uterus. My cervix is always very posterior- would that be an indicator? Now I'm worried that all my babies will be a pain in the back

AllofGrace 03-20-2010 05:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by arianascrunchymama View Post



I know that my muscles are out of whack and see a chrio regularly and love deep tissue massage. I don't know if I have a tilted uterus. My cervix is always very posterior- would that be an indicator? Now I'm worried that all my babies will be a pain in the back
I don't know about the cervix. Have you ever had any cranio-sacral therapy or myofascial release of your muscles done? Does your chiro or massage therapist specialize in prenatal? On her website Dr. Phillips has a list of some people who have been trained by her that may be able to help.

She thought if I had been able to have a few more sessions I wouldn't have had back labor at all. The night before I went into labor she spent 2 hrs working on me, a lot of it in the hips, as the piriformis (sp?) muscles that attach the uterus to the hip bone were very, very tense. She did tons of massage on them, as well as putting most of my ribs back into place (diaphragm tension can keep the uterus tilted as well). He got into perfect position (head down, back and butt on the left, little parts on the right) after she was done. Contractions started at 4:30 the next morning, and he stayed in good position.

So I'm living proof that the incredible back labor cycle CAN be broken

beckyand3littlemonsters 03-20-2010 05:56 PM

all my labours have been back labours but then all my lo's have been in the back to back position also, i remember so vividly seeing caden's face under the water as his head was born

bella99 03-21-2010 01:33 AM

I didn't have any positioning problems with my daughter, but I had back labor from the very first contraction.

I also feel my menstrual cramps in my lower back and upper thighs, every time.

I suspect I will have back labor the second time around too.

limette 03-21-2010 06:47 PM

For both, I had pain in the front and back but it was the back pain that was excruciating. There was no let up from it at all. I would have been all sunshine and rainbows if it was just the pain in the front.

Both kids were posterior. I get pain in the front and back during AF as well.

mambera 03-23-2010 02:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by treespeak View Post
Not sure how often this applies, but the current issue of Mothering has an article on Mayan abdominal massage which talks about women with a tipped uterus being more likely to experience back labor
That's interesting. I did have a gyn tell me some years ago that I have a tipped uterus. FWIW.

honey-lilac 03-23-2010 11:09 PM

Well, I had a malpositioned baby and I did *not* have back labor. Go figure on that one.

randm 03-03-2012 06:18 PM

I stumbled on this thread after a Google search looking for answers about back labour.  Don't know that I have much to add but I did find the other comments interesting, and thought I'd share my (and my daughter's) experience just as a point of reference for others.

 

I had three children - the first two were boys, and I had no back labour at all with either of them.  The first was 7 lbs 2 oz, the second 9 lbs 2 oz. 

My only experience with back labour was with my last, my girl joy.gif, who was 8 lbs 7 oz and "sunny-side up" during an ultra-sound done earlier on the day of her birth.  I've always heard (and my experience obviously bore it out) that back labour was the result of a baby facing the front.   After 6 hours I was only dilated to 3 cms, and was advised to go stand in the shower and let the hot water run on my back.  This helped, but what helped more was that in leaning against my husband, she suddenly turned and her head was then pressed firmly against my cervix.  The back labour stopped immediately and I went from 3 cms to 10 in less than 30 minutes!  She was born before the Dr could get back to the hospital! 

 

Ten days ago my baby girl had her first baby - and she had horrible back labour the entire time.  But her labour went very fast, in spite of it.  She was fully dilated and delivered in less than 6 hours - so not really indicative of a "sunny-side up" position, although the ultra-sound at 20 weeks showed the baby facing forward.  That's early, though, for positioning - and I'm sure the midwife had indicated she'd turned since then.  I didn't think to ask during the delivery - things were pretty intense.  One thing I did notice, though, was a mention in these comments about an anterior placenta - which is not common - but something my daughter had.  I don't know if I had anterior placenta with her.  But maybe that's a factor?  Also, my granddaughter was a relatively big baby - as was her Momma - 8 lbs 10 oz.  Anyway, make of it what you will - I have no explanation but there seem to be some common factors there.  In the end, what helped my daughter the most was placing my fist into the one really sore spot in her back, and she leaning into that through the contraction.  The discomfort increased during active labour - but she didn't seem to feel it between contractions - and it definitely let up by the time she was in transition and pushing, which was a relief. 

 

Anyway, the important part in all of this is our beautiful little ones being born safe and sound and lovely.  Congrats to all - it is such a privilege to bear a child . . . if I still could, I would.  Now I just get to love my daughter and be enormously proud of her for giving birth to my beautiful little granddaughter - as the life-cycle continues . . .


DeChRi 03-10-2012 08:29 PM

Funny this thread was revived....I started the original thread a couple yrs ago, and now am a month from having my fourth. Turns out my third was no back labor and super easy. This is the first time I've had an anterior placenta, and right now baby is posterior and not moving as I would like. Anxious to see how labor goes. smile.gif

andisunshine 03-14-2012 01:46 AM

I had awful back labor with my first baby.  It made me throw up.  He was in a perfect position and wasn't born sunny-side up so I don't know what was wrong.  Dry land home-birth.

 

With my second he was unconfirmed frank breech and labor was so easy.  Then I was sent to the hospital by my midwife for a c-section at 8 cms.

 

My third baby was vertex and my placenta was anterior.  I can't remember if he was posterior or not but regardless his birth was the most relaxed and the contractions weren't painful until I was near transition.  Birth was uncomplicated and he wasn't sunny-side up.  Water home-birth.

 

I did have an u/s tech tell me my uterus was retrograde in the eighth week of my third pregnancy, but since I had never heard this before she said it must not be a problem for me.  Maybe that's why I had back labor that first time?  I don't know.  I do have slight scoliosis.

 

A book my midwife gave me during my second pregnancy was Back Labor No More.  I found the concept realistic and might have tried the solution if I had back labor in my other births.



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