Would you like to be on Mumsnet's research panel? We're especially keen for parents-to-be and new parents to join. You can sign up here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive on offer for your views.

Baby is back-to-back - what now? What do I need to know e.g. about turning in labour?

(51 Posts)
aufaniae Sat 30-Mar-13 21:37:46

Due in 12 days, the MW seems not too concerned about DD being back-to-back, and says she may still turn - even in labour.

However I know a couple of people who had horrendous labours because of their baby being back-to-back, both experiencing loads of pain and ultimately ending in C-section. Ideally, I'd really like to avoid a c-section if at all possible!

Does anyone know what happens if they try to turn the baby in labour? Are there risks involved, what should I know?

Is is common for back-to-back babies to end up being delivered by c-section?

TIA smile

AmandaPayntedEgg Tue 02-Apr-13 15:08:17

So this is your second?

My two have both been b2b and my first labour sounds a bit like yours. Not quite as aggressive, but I kept being told that I just needed to be on my back for half an hour for the monitor...and left there in screaming agony for an hour. When I lay down, my whole world became one big constant circle of pain.

Second was a whole other thing. The contractions still felt like being kicked in the back by a horse, but I had a doula who was full of masses of suggestions for positions I could get myself in to help. Most of them can be found on spinning babies. I spent a long time taking each contraction with one leg up on a chair (out to the side, not up out in front of me if that makes sense. Looked a bit like a dog taking a wee grin) as that spreads the pelvis and made each contraction, well not exactly less painful, but feel more productive. Also lots of back rubbing, leaning forward, firm pressure on the base of my spine, rocking, standing squats and even at one stage inversions (look on the site!!). I can pinpoint the moment DD2 changed position, as the pain moved from my back immediately and she was born shortly after.

Crowning and the second stage honestly did not hurt in the slightest. The pain went away totally.

I think when people talk about 'more painful', for me it was also different pain. The pain once DD2 had moved was like the most intense period pain possible - an intense dull ache. The contractions before were a sharp intense pain, as I've said, much like I imagine being kicked in the back by a horse.

I had everything going for DD1 but the epidural was hideous (even though it technically 'worked') and I swore that I wouldn't have another unless I felt like I wanted to shoot myself. I never reached that point. I didn't have any chemical pain relief at all, though I was in the pool at the very end.

Honestly, having felt a bit like you do first time, I'd do labour two again in an instant. I felt like superwoman afterwards (compared to the first time when I felt like the losing boxer at the end of a bout).

Jakeyblueblue Tue 02-Apr-13 15:07:58

My ds turned back to back a little way into labour, i won't lie, it was long and painful and ended up having an epidural which was fab and IMO prevented me having to have a section. Ds was almost 10 lbs and I'd been contracting for over 72 hrs by the time I got to fully. The epidural allowed me to get an hours rest before pushing for over 2 hrs. I'd have never have had the energy without that little rest.
Having said that though, ds turned back literally as he was born, and ended up the right way up afterall. Also, in all fairness, the long labour might have been that long anyway, it may have had nothing to do with his position. Good luck! ,

learnermummy Tue 02-Apr-13 14:50:58

My DS1 was back to back and the labour was long and painful in my back. I had an epidural which was wonderful and managed to get him out without further intervention even though he didn't turn. My epidural block was so good the midwives let him descend a long way on his own before getting me to push.
DS2 was not back to back and was in quite a hurry to arrive!
I've heard that sitting on a toilet/birthing stool is really good for b2b labours.
Good luck.

MammaCici Tue 02-Apr-13 09:08:01

Hi Tia, Is this your first baby? If so, do you know what kind of labours the other women in your family have had? "Easy" labours seem to run in families. My MIL and SIL have always had easier/fast labours even though they are very petite women. My family on the other hand tend to struggle with births. Before my first baby my family were forbidden from speaking about labour. I did hypnobirthing and convinced myself I could have an "easy" birth. I totally believed I could do it. I remember when the pain became so bad thinking "mum was right". G&A totally freaked me out and made me hallucinate. I eventually got a walking epidural and it really took the edge off and I remained active. It was a life saver for me and I was able to focus again. That birth was on paper totally straight forward with an anterior presentation but I still found it very traumatic and ended up with prolapse issues (rectocele) even though I only had very minor tears. This time my baby is b2b and I'm very scared what it will do to my body. I'm in discussions about c-section but I don't think it will be recommended.
Anyhow, I just wanted to ask you if you know how your mum / sisters coped during labour in general? It might give you some insight into what to expect. Best of luck!

Hai1988 Tue 02-Apr-13 08:12:56

Hi aufaniae

ds was in the back to back position and did not turn, had a relatively easy labour as well.
12hrs from first contraction using only g & a, was lying on my back most of the wsy through as well.

tbh although mws told me he was back to back tbh i didn't see what all the fuss was about.

aufaniae Tue 02-Apr-13 03:08:25

"I honestly think crowning was less painful than the contractions - apparently it's usually the other way around?"

That's reassuring actually, thanks. In my last labour, I didn't even notice the crowning as pain, it was nothing compared to the agony i was already in. (Hours of Syntocinon and a failed epidural).

I meant to add - if you find you don't get on with your midwife, remember you do have the right to ask for a different one. I guess this would depend on staff availability, but if you ask early on there should be time to switch?
Likewise tho, if a midwife doesn't get on with her patient she has the right to 'sack' you too!

Gruntfuttocks Mon 01-Apr-13 23:20:11

My second was back to back. Compared to my first, who was the other way round, I don't think the labour was that much more painful, except for the last bit before pushing, which seemed briefly excruciating. The worst bit for me was the stopping and starting - the labour took much longer to get going because of the baby's position, and I found that very frustrating. I felt the baby turn just after an examination (I was 6 cm at that point) - my waters broke and the baby was born 6 minutes later, so second stage was very quick. No tears or anything, all fine afterwards.
With my third, back to back again, and had to be induced as very overdue, but pains were very similar to first labour. I had an epidural for this one, and perhaps because of this, baby did not turn and popped out face up (also with one hand leading, superman style). I'm really glad I had the epidural as I suspect this might have been quite sore, but on the other hand, it may also have contributed to the short-lived bladder problems I experienced after the birth.
All in all, it was no big deal and not something to get too stressed about.

Wolfiefan Mon 01-Apr-13 23:10:39

Please don't be scared. My DS was back to back. Water birth with a bit of gas and air. Yes pain but specifically in my lower back. (Laboured on all fours in the pool and forced DH to pour warm water over my back WITHOUT stopping. Made it feel sooooo much better.) Pushing stage took a whole. (1hour?)
I've heard much worse about labouring on a drip and not being able to be active
All the best.

DS was back to back for the labour and turned some time before delivery - no idea when tho!
No one actually told me directly he was b2b either before labour or during - DH told me after. hmm Tbh I was so consumed by the job in hand I delegated everything else to him! I barely heard anything the lovely midwife said. blush

I managed (just) with G&A, the pain was entirely in my lower back/bum, nothing at the front. It just wasn't what I was expecting and had prepared for, and like someone said above, the contractions all rolled together and I didn't really get a break between them.
DH tried coxycs massage but it didn't help.
I stood leaning on the bed for my entire labour (apart from examinations and placenta), absolutely couldn't bear lying on my back.
He arrived after three pushes, and I honestly think crowning was less painful than the contractions - apparently it's usually the other way around?

Piffpaffpoff Mon 01-Apr-13 22:04:47

Hi, my DS was back to back and induced - double whammy! But, it was fine. He was my first so I ad nothing to compare it to but it was totally manageable. I had G&A until the last hour when I had pethedine. I was on monitoring due to the induction and other issues but I was still able to move around. In fact the midwife positively encouraged me onto a birthing ball for most of the afternoon! He was delivered normally with no interventions.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 01-Apr-13 22:00:35

My son was B2B and did not turn, and was a 22 hour labour, badly managed epidural and a delivery by Ventouse Extraction in the End, complete with episiotomy and loads of stitchets. Not helped by the fact he was 3 weeks late and approaching 10lb in weight! I really should have been given a section.

specialknickers Mon 01-Apr-13 21:57:27

Sorry for typos, on iPad. About = labour

specialknickers Mon 01-Apr-13 21:55:51

My ds was the right way round for the whole pregnancy then went back to back for about.

I had the syno drip as well but no pain relief... Not pretty but no other interventions and I managed to push him out myself. I'm pregnant again and am expecting another b2b labour, doesn't bother me in the slightest. I'm more worried about another induction. If you can weather that then b2b is going to be a walk in the park.

In short: relax, your baby still has plenty of time to turn the right way round, but if they don't, you'll be fine anyway.

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Mon 01-Apr-13 14:38:44

My baby was back to back. He never turned and eventually came out with forceps. I have to say the pain in labour was so bad it made me vomit, and the worst part was that it never stopped, it was just constant. I had an epidural which at about 5cm which was absolutely bliss and which I would highly recommend, and after that everything was lovely.

I had been against epidurals because they can increase the chance of an instrumental delivery, but my cousin had a back to back baby with just a birthing pool for pain relief and still needed forceps, so I'm glad I went for it.

PebblePots Mon 01-Apr-13 08:16:12

Hello, my baby was back to back. I read the spinning babies web site. I think the best thing I did was saw a chiropractor who specialised in pregnant women and this helped to straighten out some mis-alignment in my back & pelvis so optimising the space for the baby. Despite this and doing some inversions and sitting leaning forward on a gym ball, it wasn't until labour that my baby turned.

The spinning babies web site explains what you could expect from a labour like this, in short possibly a longer labour with intense contractions to turn the baby. My labour was long 36 hours from first contractions but I managed with only a tens machine & birth pool for pain relief & had my baby at home. So I wish I hadn't worried so much in the run up to the birth as everything was fine in the end.

I would say try to trust your body to deal with things but do see a chiropractor if you have back problems to get straightened out!

Good luck!

lotsofdogshere Mon 01-Apr-13 08:08:01

My 2nd was back to back - no one knew, despite so many scans after early bleeding, which was due to low placenta. It was a longer labour and more of an effort than either the first or 3rd babies, but I was lucky and had a great midwife. I also refused forceps, because the young doctor they brought in to use them had told me 2 weeks earlier that either my dates were 6 weeks out, or I had a very small baby. I lost it when he walked it, and told him to off. I was on my back, with a monitor on my baby's head - a senior midwife was sent in, she was fabulous and so understanding about me sending the doctor out. Best thing I ever did, as she examined me, and told me we could do this together. We did, 8.15 baby, no stitches and no forceps. Good luck op, if your babe is anything like mine, you will be one happy mum x

aufaniae Mon 01-Apr-13 07:59:01

Thanks MammaCici that's a really useful article.

Must admit I am feeling a bit scared about it though!

MammaCici Sun 31-Mar-13 23:19:07

My baby is also b2b. I'm 35+1 but baby us very low down already. Here is an article I found on the subject that the OP may find interesting.

www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=6064

Babybeesmama Sun 31-Mar-13 21:30:47

I did loads of floor cleaning down on all fours with dc2 who was back to back! He was born 30 mins after arriving at hospital with a pushing time of 6 seconds blush! I was thinking I'd have long painful labour! He must've turned at some point! And my floors were squeaky clean smile x

MyNameIsAnAnagram Sun 31-Mar-13 20:52:16

Ds was back to back. Apparently most b2b babies turn in labour, but ds didn't, I think because due to his hr dipping if I moved, I was stuck on my left hand side. The pain was fine, I managed without g&a(didn't like how it made me feel), but because he didn't turn I did end up with a ventouse as he got stuck because of his head angle. Anyway it was all fine and I see his birth as a very positive experience

Induced for both dc both back to back born face up big babies. Had drip and firceps with dd which I refused with ds, nit going to lie it was absolute hell, no pain relief, nothing, told to be quite and found pushing on induction ward. Labour for most women hurts, it does for me. Bollocks have got to to it again in 2 weeks (or 4 as bound to go I reduce again) a c section for back to back was never offered. Have medical condition this time and still refused a c section (even on advice of consultant) as I prefer recovery to vb with two other dc.

MrsAceRimmer Sun 31-Mar-13 10:16:19

Both mine were back to back. DS turned during labour and just about strangled himself with the umbilical cord. He was induced because of pre-eclampsia though, a week early and ended up with a ventouse delivery. We were both fine, but I had a 2nd degrees tear.
DD delivered back to back. She didn't turn at all, easy labour, no tearing, home 7 hours after she was born (she is DC2).
If you can't get DC turned (mine wouldn't shift), do exactly as MW says, I tore because I pushed when I shouldn't and because DS NEEDED to be born right then.
I only had gas& air and morphine as pain relief both times.
Good luck x

So, by "a more painful labour" do you mean pain that's possibly dealable with, with Gas & Air, or screaming agony where I'll be begging for an epidural?

In my case OP, it was the latter. Definitely begging for an epidural!

Mind you. She was also induced. Don't know whether that made a difference. I certainly struggled, and after a full hour and a half of pushing, they had to pull her out with forceps (joy!)

But every labour/birth is different. Just go with the flow I say! ( I have nearly forgotten the pain :D )

QueenoftheHolly Sun 31-Mar-13 09:55:10

I did all the recommended things prior to my labour (swimming every day, walks every day) right up til I was induced.
My baby was in the perfect position & engaged but somehow when the time came for pushing he had squiggled round to back to back & was not coming out so I ended up with emergency c-section.
I think if there's plenty of water in there it's hard to control what position they will be in at the crucial point (obviously breech is abit different) so as lots of posters have said your baby may sort itself out & be fine or like me, still end up going back to back to back!!!
Loads of luck.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now