How to Deal with Labor Pain and Back Labor

Back labor makes it hard to concentrate and sink into the rhythm of natural birthing. And sometimes labor feels overwhelming; you “lose it” even when your baby is in a great position. This article is Part 2 of a three-part series on handling labor and birthing naturally – no matter how intense it gets.

Back Labor

The good news is, almost all posterior babies turn anterior during labor. Turning takes time, though, so work with your baby to help him or her move:

  • Position changes can help encourage baby to turn
  • Dancing and swaying your hips
  • Rotating/rolling your hips around on a birth ball
  • Use a shawl/scarf/Rebozo to lift the belly and rock the baby back and forth (often called doing a “belly sift”

Counter-pressure feels good during back labor, but doesn't help baby move down.  If you use counter-pressure to get some relief, alternate it with active positions that really help your baby turn.

If your baby feels “stuck” you can and should use one or more birth skill techniques – these techniques can literally get a stalled labor moving again.

(NOTE: Want a Perfect Birth Plan Template? Use this template and step-by-step videos to write a birth plan that gets your birth team on your side for a beautiful birth experience! Get the birth plan kit here.)

Handle Labor Pain

Movement and Music

Rhythmic movement can help you relax during labor – slow dancing, belly dancing, or simply swaying back and forth. These strategies help with back labor, intense labor, and even during a straightforward labor.

Choose music beforehand. If you've been doing prenatal yoga to music, that music can help you relax during labor. Some women choose music that is significant to them and their partner. Music is especially wonderful at muting the sounds of a busy hospital.

Try sitting on the toilet during labor, rocking back and forth. There's good reason to like the toilet – you find it easy to relax on the toilet because you relax there every day.

Birth balls give excellent support to your pregnant body and let you move relatively freely while sitting on them. You can also drape across them while you're on your knees or squatting. A birth ball is a great way to create tons of movement for your baby – even in a small hospital room!

Try walking around between contractions. When a contraction comes brace yourself on something like a low table or counter top.  Walking stairs usually to get a baby moving down!

You can grab onto somebody and hold them. Put your arms around your coach's neck and let him/her support your weight – it helps. “Hanging” on someone in an upright can help you work with back labor while your baby rotates and can help get a slow labor moving again.

Some women like to walk outside and find that trees are always willing supports during contractions 😉

In the Water

A favorite method of pain relief during birthing is water. Laboring in the water is becoming more popular – for good reasons. Water has the ability to relax and relieve pain. For many women, getting in the water provides instantaneous relief.

Getting in a tub full of warm water helps you relax and lets you to work with your contractions. The water supports the weight of your body for you. The heat helps relax your muscles (to read more about water birth, opens in a new window).

Some positions, like squatting, are much easier. The soft bottom of a birthing tub is easy to kneel on and you can support yourself of the side of the tub for a hands and knees position.  You can spiral your hips easily and naturally – something instinctive during birthing! This helps posterior babies move and eases back labor, too.

Your partner can get into the water with you if you have a large tub 🙂

A shower is wonderful even if you don't have access to a tub during labor. Letting the water to wash gently over you is relaxing and comforting. It also gets you standing up (or squatting/kneeling)- which opens your pelvis and helps your baby descend.

If you have a removable shower head you can direct water over your belly, or if you're having back labor, over the small of your back – this gives gentle relief to back pain while letting you stand or spiral your hips to help your baby turn and move down.

(NOTE: Want a Perfect Birth Plan Template? Use this template and step-by-step videos to write a birth plan that gets your birth team on your side for a beautiful birth experience! Get the birth plan kit here.)

Handle Labor Pain

Click Here to Go to Part 3

Photo by goldberg

11 Mom-Tested Techniques to Handle Labor Pain... Naturally