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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

Flisspaps Sat 30-Mar-13 21:42:34

AFAIK they won't try to turn the baby - they only attempt to turn breech babies, and that's before labour starts.

Back to back babies are left to it but it may be a more painful labour as their spine is pressed up against yours.

Have you looked at the spinning babies website? There may be suggestions of positions on there to try. It's entirely possible your baby will turn before or during labour anyway all on their own.

onedev Sat 30-Mar-13 21:46:07

All 3 of mine were back to back & sorted themselves at some point before delivery. My midwife had told me to rock on all fours & bounce on the birthing ball - which I did do lots of. Not sure if that actually made the difference but they were in the right position when they came out having been back to back for most of the pregnancy.

Carolra Sat 30-Mar-13 21:47:30

My dd was back to back and turned during labour, which is a good thing!! My contractions were mostly in my lower back, I didn't feel them in front until right near the end. She took 12 hours to pop out but it was a straightforward delivery, gas and air, no tearing.

I don't think you need to worry too much about it yet, no one made a big deal about it with me and nature just took its course. Your dc might turn in the next couple of days anyway... Try not to be too concerned until it happens, wait and see how your labour is going and trust your instincts. Good luck!!

mumarchy Sat 30-Mar-13 21:49:37

Mine was back to back. Gave me an awful backache but turned in time for delivery. Ever thankful to the trainee midwife who gave me a lovely back massage during labour thanks.

BreasticlesNTesticles Sat 30-Mar-13 21:50:50

Get on your hands and knees wih your bum in the air, that encourages baby to turn I think.

DD1 was back to back, she turned in labour and shot out. Midwife did say it caused my waters to break early though, due to position of her head.

ShootingStarsss Sat 30-Mar-13 21:53:58

My dd was back to back she turned during labour, yes it was a lot if pain in my lower back instead of front, in fact I'm not gonna lie it was agony.

thingamajig Sat 30-Mar-13 21:54:07

DD1 was back to back, I had a backachey labour, but didn't need pain relief, and had her at home. Back to back isn't a death sentence to simple birth.

aufaniae Sat 30-Mar-13 21:57:10

Thanks for the replies smile

Please can I ask, when you say "a more painful labour" what do you mean exactly?

I know it's hard to describe pain, but FWIW I was augmented for may last labour (induced after it's started naturally, basically). They gave me the synotocin drip which really, really hurts, but their attempts at epidural failed. I also had a relatively large baby (9lb 4). All of this together led to me experiencing pain like I never knew existed, it was awful, screaming agony.

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?

balkanscot Sat 30-Mar-13 21:58:24

That's what they kept telling me, that the baby would turn during labour. It turned out DS had other ideas. I wanted a lovely birthing centre birth, pool, gas and air only, etc., ended up not dilating properly, baby still not turning and, after 28 hours in total, doctors decided to do a forceps, with manual turning (forceps turning was offered but I refused) beforehand. They were very reluctant to do a C-section as the baby was already well in the birth canal. Despite such turn of events DS was delivered safe and sound, after an initial slight worry about his heart rate dropping/cord getting around his neck en route to the operating theatre.

I hope I didn't sound too scary or negative - I am sure your baby may turn during labour as described above. Good luck! smile

My ds was back to back. While the labour was long and painful, I had a fan-bloody-tastic midwife and ds was born with no interventions. The pushing stage was long which I think is common in back-to-back, 2 hours and 20 minutes to be precise. I did have an epidural because I just couldn't take the pain and it gave great relief until it wore off and they didn't top it up

Zoomania Sat 30-Mar-13 22:01:36

I think it is difficult to say aufanie as everyone has a different labour and different pain threshold etc. my baby turned back to back at 37 weeks and I was so worried but had a normal delivery after about 5 hrs labour. Very very intense and close together contractions but managed with pool and gas and air. Don't have anything to compare it too!

aufaniae Sat 30-Mar-13 22:02:58

Thanks balkanscot, no worries, not too scary or negative! It's reassuring to hear everone's good stories, but I'm well aware it might not be plain sailing.

DO you mind if I ask if there's a specific reason you refused the forceps?

BreasticlesNTesticles Sat 30-Mar-13 22:08:06

It's not a productive pain imo, not like front contractions where it hurts but you know why. DD1 it just hurt all the time, it didn't come and go and I found that hard to deal with. Water did help hugely though.

Ime though the hurting all the time was more irritatingly painful than intensely painful - in the case of "normal" contractions.

FrantasticO Sat 30-Mar-13 22:11:21

I've had one total back to back delivery, one normal and one that turned.
Back to back or me was more painful.
Normal in comparison was no problem, but may have just been a different labour.

I'd say keep your options re pain relief open and see what happens on the day.
It's all just means to an end so you have your baby safe with you, don't beat yourself up whatever happens.

Good luck on meeting your new little person!envy

I have had three back to back labours.

DS was 1hr 51mins start to finish unplanned and unexpected home birth no pain relief apart from two paracetamol.

DD1 was a planned home water birth she arrived before the midwife did at 50 ish minutes from start to finish. One Capri Sun drink as pain relief this time!

DD2 I was induced as I was an inpatient for the last two months of pg for other complications. I ended up on the drip with artificial rupture of membranes etc. I was continually monitored and I had 4 contractions which were 10 minutes apart I was not in established labour according to the midwife. DD2 begged to differ so 40mins for her. Half a chocolate orange for pain relief for this one grin

I dread to think how quick they'd have been if they were the right way round.

It is not all doom and gloom.

slimyak Sat 30-Mar-13 22:14:46

Both my DDs were back to back and came out star gazing. I did lots of time on the birthing ball and painted the skirting boards of a whole house when heavily preg with DD1.
Can't say if was more painful than normal as I only have the 2, however I had only gas and air with both and first was an 8 hour labour and second a 4hour labour, with not interventions.
I was aware that sitting or lying down made the pain too much for me so I basically danced them out.
Interesting someone said about back to back meaning waters broke early hadn't heard that before, but my waters broke both times at home at the onset of labour. The second time while sat on the loo blowing my nose, which was very convenient!

Both of mine were back to back. I was advised, with ds, to crawl around on all fours for 20 mins a day- probably from 36 weeks. That was 7 years ago. With dd they didn't really advise anything, just stated she was back to back.
I had that many issues during both labours that I couldn't really say whether it caused any problems directly. They both turned of their own volition during the first stages of labour anyway! smile

Dogsmom Sat 30-Mar-13 22:26:58

I had my daughter 3 weeks ago, she's my first so I expected a long labour but she was back to back too and it took 30 hours from start to finish.
I have to admit the pain was horrendous, gas and air did nothing, I have a high pain threshold but after 24 hours I was shaking uncontrollably with it.
I had an epidural at 26 hours and it was a million times better, the contractions were mildly painful but a breeze compared to before.
I ended up only having to push 3 times to get her out and did have an episiotomy and ventouse but that was because she was in distress and nothing to do with the epidural.
She did turn herself but literally just before I had to push and I'd laboured for over 25 hours.
With regards to turning her beforehand I was told by various midwives that getting on all fours was a myth and wouldn't do anything, I can't say I'd it's true as I didn't try.
Before having her I didn't believe people who said that you forget the pain but you do, within minutes it all seemed a haze and we're already planning number 2!

derbyshire Sun 31-Mar-13 03:27:53

I've had Two b-b labours.
Best advice is stay on your feet until as late as poss and then all fours to give birth. All the pain was in my lower back.
I couldnt bear lying down and midwife had to time her internals carefully!
Did it with gas and air though and baby turned in the last hour.
Still can't stand to see women lying on their backs in tv labour - makes me cringe.

aufaniae Sun 31-Mar-13 07:25:23

Last time I gave birth I had to have an IV drip and continuous monitoring. I got a midwife who refused to work with me unless I was on my back. I suspect because of the continuous monitoring and her lack of ability to deal with this, but I don't know as she wouldn't offer my a proper explanation. Most of the birth was a stand off between us (I'd been to ante natal classes where I'd learnt about active labour).

I remember actually bargaining with her, agreeing I'd go on my back for half an hour as she ws so insistent then looking at the clock and realising 2 hours had passed (I was very high on the gas and air).

I gave in, in the end as so exhausted, and gave birth on my back, feet in stirrups, with no serious pain relief, in screaming agony. (She actually had the cheek to tell me I shouldn't scream!)

Because of this experience, I really want to understand what my options are and what will help in labour so I can stand my ground better if I cone up with someone as rubbish as her again.

cupcake78 Sun 31-Mar-13 07:30:31

My ds was back to back. Yes it hurt but then all labours hurt.

I got very bad back pain throughout my labour and it was a slow labour but the speed was more down ds head being too big to fully engage until I was more dilated.

The birthing ball and back rubs were my saviour. Ds was born with no intervention. I had backache afterwards but that could just be because of the pregnancy and he was a big baby.

Don't be scared about back to back deliveries its not a deal breaker and can be done.

cupcake78 Sun 31-Mar-13 07:33:33

When it came to the pushing stage I was told to lie on my left hand side. I'm still not sure why but I only pushed for 40mins which for a first birth isn't badgrin

HanBanan89 Sun 31-Mar-13 08:07:45

I am first time mummy to a 3 week old DD. all the way through my pregnancy DD was in te correct position but turned during labour into a back to back position. I have to say the pain then was terrible and because she was b2b and her head was more at my tail bone than pushing on cervix I stopped dilating. Anyway long story short they tried to turn her internally 3 or 4 times with no joy so we then got taken to theatre where I had to have foreceps delivery and episiotomy. DD was fine no worse for all the drama. No matter what happens it will be so worth it when your LO arrives, fingers crossed that baby decides to turn for you during labour and good luck when the time comes

SneezySnatcher Sun 31-Mar-13 08:08:47

I'm due on Saturday with another (so far) b2b baby.

DD was b2b and induced, so I expected the labour to be agony. It was bad, as the contractions were all in my back and there was no let-up, but I did cope with gas and air.

My tip is to sit on the loo (yes, really) during labour. I went to the loo and then couldn't be bothered to move, so stayed there for ages! By the time I got up, DD had turned and the labour got much easier. A birthing stool or ball would be a more hygienic pleasant option!

BTW, I'm pretty annoyed this one is b2b as I have been so active this pg. I've completely avoided sitting on the sofa since 34 weeks (sat on ball instead), been swimming three times a week, loads of walking etc with the express purpose of avoiding b2b labour. He does keep switching though, so there's still time!

Flisspaps Sun 31-Mar-13 08:13:02

Being on your back won't help - if you're upright or on all fours your baby's spine won't be pressing on yours. Being on the bed, on your back, should be your last resort!

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.

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 )

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

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.

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

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

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.


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!

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

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!

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.

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.

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

Sorry for typos, on iPad. About = labour

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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!

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).

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.

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!

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.

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! ,

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).

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