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How to relieve back pain when in labour

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A common complaint of many women in labour is back pain, or “back labour,” and it can be caused by various factors (e.g. a posterior baby). Here are some practical ways to cope with and ease the pain of back labour.
What you'll need: 
A birth partner (e.g. the Dad, doula, etc.)
A hot water bottle or compress
A cold pack
A rolling pin
A towel
Massage oil or body lotion
A warm bath or shower
Heat: Apply a hot compress or hot water bottle to the small of your back or wherever the pain is most severe. You may also benefit from a hot shower.
Cold: An ice pack or package of frozen vegetables (such as peas) applied to the back can help to numb the pain or alleviate muscle spasms.
Changes of Position: Remaining active and upright in labour not only enlists the help of gravity but certain positions can encourage a posterior baby to turn. Crouching, kneeling, squatting, hands and knees, and various other positions can also ease back pain.
Movement: Often called “the birth dance,” movements such as rocking, swaying, and even going up and down stairs help to relieve back labour.
Pressure: Have your birth partner apply firm counter-pressure against your low back with their knuckles or heel of one hand. Pressure can also be applied to the sacrum (the lowest part of your spine) or use a rolling pin covered in a towel to roll slowly and evening up and down your lower back.
Acupressure: Pressure on other parts of the body can sometimes relieve back pain. These areas include the feet just below the ball or between the pads under the big toe and second toe; under the curve of the buttocks or anywhere else where pressure feels good; and between the tendons on the inside of the wrist. Have your birth partner apply pressure with the thumb or forefinger for 10 minutes at a time in a steady rhythm through contractions.
Massage: A firm, slow, and steady massage can help to ease tension and minimise pain. Have your partner apply massage oil or body lotion to avoid skin irritation.
Immersion in Water: The weightlessness of water can help to alleviate or sometimes eliminate low back pain. Relax as you squat, float, and sway.
Your experience of labour will be unique so don’t be afraid to tailor these suggestions to your needs.
Avoid any methods that cause pain or irritation and use only those that provide relief.


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