What is Back Labor?

What is Back Labor?

If you are feeling very intense pain throughout your lower back during labor, then you might just be experiencing back labor! It usually occurs when the baby’s head is against your spine, specifically when the back of the baby’s head is pressing onto your lower spine and tailbone.


The baby’s head pressing onto your spine creates pressure on the nerves, causing some pretty severe discomfort, but it is still manageable! Keep reading to learn more about back labor and how to help manage the pressure you might experience.


How do you know if it is back pain or back labor?

Back pain is common during pregnancy and may be mistaken for back labor since the former also tends to exacerbate during labor.


Back pain in pregnancy can be caused due to multiple reasons. First, it may be due to a lack of nutrients such as calcium or vitamin D that may cause your bones to weaken, unable to support your growing pregnancy demands. Second, it may be due to your changing posture as your tummy grows, causing a strain on your back muscles.


Back pain is usually positional and may improve with rest and local therapies like heating pads or essential oil massage.


Back labor, on the other hand, is caused by your baby’s head lying against your spine and pressing against it. This pain gets worse in the end stages of labor and during contractions, and it is rarely a cause of distress during early pregnancy.


What causes this?

The main cause of back labor is your baby’s position. You may experience it if your baby is in the position commonly called “sunny side up”.


However, some causes may lead to an increased risk of experiencing back labor. It includes a previous history of having back labor, a sister or mother experiencing back labor, and sometimes, an increased BMI. 


Ways to help ease back labor

Back labor usually progresses as labor progresses and relieves as you deliver your baby. However, if it’s especially bothersome for you, try these techniques for some relief from the pain:



Back labor is nothing to worry too much about, but if you think this is something you would like to learn more about, be sure to give us a call or talk to your healthcare provider and they can suggest some things to help you prepare in case you experience this type of labor!