Easing Back Labor

Back labor is experienced by nearly one third of all laboring women for at least a portion of the labor. One of the most common reasons for back labor is a baby in the posterior position (facing the mother's front). If you have back labor, you will need extra help from your partner to stay on top of things. You will want to try many different strategies -- some for pain relief and some to encourage your baby to rotate to a more favorable position.

The first thing to do is to get off your back. Lying on your back usually intensifies the pain. Change positions frequently -- try standing, side-lying, hands and knees, squatting, sitting or leaning on a birth ball. Assuming these positions can sometimes give a baby more room in which to turn.

Movement can also help. Not only does it feel good, but walking, rocking, lunging, swaying and stair-climbing all affect the shape of the space the baby is negotiating and can encourage the baby to rotate.

Try applying counterpressure, alternating heat and cold and taking a shower or bath. Imagining how you want the baby to turn and then stroking the abdomen in that direction may also help.

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