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Pregnancy comes with a number of changes physically, mentally and internally. Along with it comes all kinds of emotions ranging from happiness and excitement to confusion and an intense sense of awareness. The expecting mothers would also go through pain especially when the false labour or contractions start. This is apart from the pain caused by their growing body and swelling body parts (hands legs, feet, hips and breasts).

One kind of pain that most pregnant women complain about during labour is back pain or more specifically, the lower back pain. The back pain intensifies during the contractions and may continue (with lesser intensity) even between the contractions. This is what constitutes back labour.

Cause of back labour

It might be because of the position of the baby in the womb. When the baby is in the occiput posterior position, with the baby’s head down and facing the abdomen, the head would be resting on the spine thus putting pressure on the mother’s lower back. But this may not be the actual cause of back labour since many women who experience back labour don’t have the baby in this position and vice versa. 

This pain is more commonly observed in women who have a smaller body. As the baby grows, the body may not have enough space to accommodate the baby and thus this might cause severe back pain. It could also due to bad posture during pregnancy. If you stand with your hips pushed to the front and knees locked, this can add to the back pain. It could also depend on the shape of your pelvic bone. Some mothers have stronger pelvic bone structures that help support the birthing process better. Also, if you have had a back injury before, it can cause ligament pain thus inducing back labour.

Differentiating between back pain and back labour

Now, there are a few differences between back pain and back labour. Back labour usually starts when you actually go into labour. It may occur in early labour but this is very rare. If you get back labour when you aren’t in labour, then it may just be back pain. You would need to find a chiropractor who is trained to help you out with this pain. Back labour is one that intensifies during contractions but reduces between the contractions. If you have steady back pain that doesn’t peak and then go down, then it may not be back labour.

Tips to prevent back labour

During your pregnancy, there are a couple of things you can do to prevent going through back labour:

1. Always sit up straight and use support.

2. Adopt a healthy posture while standing.

3. Practice exercises for your baby’s position. (ask your doctor)

4. Practice exercises meant to strengthen your back during pregnancy. (consult your doctor)

5. Consult a chiropractor for advice.

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