Q: What is back labor?
A: Back labor means that you're feeling contractions in your lower back, just above your tailbone, either along with or instead of in your belly.
Back labor occurs in about 25 percent of women, and may be a sign that your baby is in what's known as the occiput posterior position -- or "sunny-side up" (meaning your baby is head-down, but facing your tummy instead of your back). This can cause the hardest part of baby's head to rest on the bony part of your spine, triggering the back pain you feel.
But while this position can be uncomfortable for you, it's not a problem for your baby. In fact, nearly 90 percent of babies rotate on their own during labor or can be shifted by your doctor. If the baby does not rotate, a vaginal delivery can be somewhat harder, but is still very safe.
If your back's killing you, try these moves to soothe the pain:
• Do pelvic tilts. Get down on your hands and knees and gently rock your pelvis by tucking your bottom in and then releasing it. This tips your baby slightly out of the pelvis and relieves some pressure. It also gives the baby optimal room to rotate.
• Have your partner or a hospital staff member apply counterpressure to the lower back with their hands or a warm pad or cold pack -- whichever feels best.
• Get on all fours in the shower (be super careful not to slip) and have the warm water spray onto your lower back.
• If your birth plan includes an epidural, know that the pain may be relieved once it's administered.