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Back work: myth or reality of birth?



Did back work really happen?

Answer by Yvonne Butler Tobah, M. D.

"Back work" – a term used to describe work that causes most lower back pain. Back work sometimes occurs when the baby steps up into the birth canal and does not look down. However, this is not always the case. Some women simply feel more tension in their backs during labor and delivery than others.

Although you can not prevent back work, you can relieve back pain during labor. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Try a backrest. Ask your partner or work trainer to rub your lower back. A back pressure against the lower back with a closed fist or a tennis ball can be helpful. If one or two people put pressure on your hips during contractions while leaning forward, this can also be helpful. This is called a double hip pressure.
  • Change the positions. Take a walk. Spread a chair and lean forward or kneel against a pile of pillows or birth ball. Remove the pressure from your spine by walking on your hands and knees. Lower your arms to the bed or a floor mat and place your head on a pillow to calm your arms. If you lie, lie on your side and not on your back.
  • Apply heat. Soothe your lower back with a heating pad.
  • Consider the medication. Epidural and spinal anesthesia may occur temporarily Block pain in your lower body. Although not widely used, some research suggests that shallow injections of sterile water into the lower back may be a temporary – but possibly significant – relief of back pain during labor on your lower back may be relief.

Work with your healthcare team to test your options for pain relief during labor. Regardless of whether you have back work or pain elsewhere, you may be familiar with pain if you are familiar with pain.

Updated: 2015-03-14

Release date: 2015-03-14


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