Does sunny side up baby cause back pain?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

A sunny side up baby, also known as occiput posterior position, can cause back pain during labor. When the back of your baby’s head is pressing against your lower spine and tailbone, it can put additional pressure on those areas, leading to discomfort and pain.

During a normal labor, the baby is ideally positioned with their head down and facing your back, which is known as the occiput anterior position. In this position, the smallest part of the baby’s head (the back) is aligned with your pelvis, making the journey through the birth canal smoother.

However, in the occiput posterior position, the baby’s face is facing upwards towards your belly, and their back is pressing against your spine. This positioning can make labor more challenging and increase the likelihood of experiencing back pain.

The pressure from the baby’s head on your lower spine and tailbone can cause intense pain and discomfort in your lower back. This pain may be felt as a dull ache or sharp, shooting pains. It can also radiate to your hips, buttocks, and down your legs.

Back pain from a sunny side up baby can make contractions feel more intense and may slow down the progress of labor. It can also make it more difficult for your baby to descend through the birth canal, potentially leading to a longer and more challenging labor.

If you are experiencing back pain during labor, there are several techniques that may help alleviate the discomfort. These include:

1. Changing positions: Experiment with different positions, such as hands and knees, leaning forward, or using a birthing ball. These positions can help relieve pressure on your back and encourage the baby to rotate into a more favorable position.

2. Counterpressure: Applying pressure to your lower back can help alleviate the pain. This can be done by using a partner’s hands, a tennis ball, or a specially designed back massager.

3. Warm compresses: Applying warm compresses to your lower back can help relax the muscles and provide relief from the pain.

4. Hydrotherapy: Using water for pain relief, such as taking a warm shower or utilizing a birthing pool, can help ease back pain during labor.

5. Massage: Gentle massage techniques, particularly focusing on the lower back, can provide temporary relief from back pain.

It is important to discuss your back pain with your healthcare provider or midwife during labor. They can provide guidance, support, and additional pain relief options, such as medications or epidural anesthesia if necessary.

Remember, every labor and birth experience is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Trust your instincts, communicate with your healthcare provider, and explore different techniques to find what provides you with the most comfort and pain relief during labor.