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back to back labour , is it really that bad?

(37 Posts)
helenhull Mon 03-May-04 00:47:54

Hiya, people keep telling me horror stories about long labours wen baby is back to back with mum.
My midwife says thats the position my baby is in and she suggests i try turning her by kneeling and rocking on all 4s. Ive only 2 weeks left and i am huge, rocking kneeling even just sitting is v uncomfortable. Will it make much diff if i just leave her in that position and hope she turns herself?????? would love to hear other peoples oppinions or experiences.THANX!!!

Chelle Mon 03-May-04 02:48:32

My sister went into labour and heased to the hospital when the contractions were 3 minutes apart. The midwife examined her, told her the baby was in a posterior position (baby's back to her back) and that she should go home and get some rest as she was in for a very long and painful labour! She went home (very upset as you'd imagine), got down on her hands and knees (as had been suggested) and then her waters broke (less than an hour after having been told to go home from hospital). They headed back to hosptial again and the baby was born (posteriorly) about two hours later. Her entire labour (from first recognizable contraction to delivery) was 4 hours! She said it was incredibly painful (and she did tear quite a bit) but was all over pretty quickly which surprised everyone!

Good luck with your delivery!

eddm Mon 03-May-04 06:35:53

I think it is generally said to be agony but I've had two friends with this and they had very different experiences. One had two babies this way and had herself sterilised because definitely not having any more. The other had posterior with second baby and didn't think it was any different. She didn't hear the 'very painful' line until afterwards and was bemused – so can't have been that different to first, normal labour. Here's hoping you are in the second camp - but hey, there's always the epidural option.

gloworm Mon 03-May-04 08:09:58

Helenhull, my second baby was back to back and no one mentioned anything about more pain or longer labour. Unfortunately cant tell you want it would have been like as I ended up with section (apart from baby lying back to back, she was also over 10lbs, this was my second section within year and half and after 2 days of induction still wasn't going into labour!)
anyway what I was going to say was everyone's experience is different, even your own experience with each pregnancy will be different. I hope it all goes well for you (do you know if its a big or small baby?)

katierocket Mon 03-May-04 08:25:25

My labour was back to back and unfortunately it was fairly awful. he was 9lb 13oz so I think that didn't help. You may well find that baby turns before you go into labour but if not you'll be ok.

sexgoddess Mon 03-May-04 08:28:05

My first was a back to back labour and it was indeed very painful. I couldn't move around whilst having a contraction even though I kept being told to keep on the move. I found kneeling in the bath with dh pouring warm water over my back very soothing and also sitting backwards on a chair having my back rubbed vigorously also helped a great deal. Labour from first regular contractions to finish = 62 hours, pushing because no-one at BMH could work out if baby was pos/ant = 4 hours, went to theatre for trial of forceps = thankfully not able as only 7cm dilated culminating in an em c/s. I was also very big.

My advice - use your two weeks wisely and get on all fours!!! Good luck

bottersnike Mon 03-May-04 09:21:35

I don't think horror stories are ever helpful, and I was advised by my mw to get on all fours anyway just to encourage the baby into a good position and also because it can help with contractions. Even if you can just manage a couple of minutes a day it can help baby to turn.
Babies can ( and do, in my case! ) turn themselves at the last minute, so don't worry!

pesme Mon 03-May-04 09:32:06

My dd was back to back. The contractions were painful but as I didn't know she was back to back I assumed it was normal and got on with it. Fear of pain will make it seem alot worse. Dp pressed down really hard on my lower back to ease the pain. Unfortunately as I slowed down after getting to 9 cms and I had a section so don't know how difficult the next bit would have been. I was obsessed with the position. Sleeping on my left, spending evenings drapped over gym ball and scrubbing floors, and I was very active. My consultant casually blamed my sedentry lifestyle which really p*ssed me off. Don't get into a state about the position sometimes they just lie a certain way, but all the crawling around might be a good way to pass the time! Good luck.

serenequeen Mon 03-May-04 11:41:34

i had an op labour last time which i'm afraid fulfilled the "horror stories". fwiw, my advice is to follow your midwife's advice. you may be lucky, but why not do what you can to avoid a worst case scenario?

ZolaPola Mon 03-May-04 11:48:53

my ds moved a lot! He'd been breech till 36 weeks, then in perfect position till just before labour when found to be back to back! So I'd say yours also might move again. Ds is my 1st so nothing to compare it to - best thing that helped me with the back pain was being in a birthing pool, I couldn't recommend this strongly enough for posterior. I eventually had assisted delivery (forceps) not c/section after quite a long labour, not so bad as it sounds

Soapbox Mon 03-May-04 12:00:21

Both my babies were back to back. The reason why the labours are often long (as mine were) is that the head does not make a good contact with the cervix which can lead to irregular contractions. I had an epidural in the end with both of mine, but only after about 16 hours of contractions (so the contractions themselves are bearable) but I was becoming tired after that length of time.

Both babies were born vaginally, no1 with ventouse and number 2 unassisted. The epidural is quite handy as it allows for time for the baby to turn, which happens usually during or after transition. WIthout the epidural I think the urge to push would be quite hard to ignore. As it was with the epidural I got a nice 1 hour long rest before starting to push.

Tearing was quite bad, but that was because they were big babies, both 9lbs, 8oz.

I really think that you should not frighten yourself about this. As with all childbirth experiences, you will get through this. How you do that very much depends on your own experiences and preferences. I really don't think that any 2 woman experience exactly the same labour, even with quite similar circumstances.

I wish you the best of luck, and remember the way to get the birth you want is to be well informed and build a good relationship with your midwife. Oh and if at all possible avoid coming into contact with doctors, once they get involved everything seems to be much more intervetionist!

lou33 Mon 03-May-04 13:20:41

My first was back to back and took 2 hours 20 mins, from first contraction to delivery. I do remember thinking I wasn't going to be able to cope if it was this painful, but was unaware that I was already in transition.

Demented Mon 03-May-04 13:32:52

My DS1 was back to back, knew nothing about it until labour so presumably he hadn't been like that at my last check-up with the midwife. It was a long labour, had to be put on a drip to speed things up (21 hours in total), I did find it difficult to get comfortable in labour but managed with gas and air and diamorphine. I do remember the midwife saying something about him turning during labour so I don't think he was spine to spine by the time he was delivered which probably helped. The pushing stage was long and I needed an episiotomy. My DS2 was in a good position and labour was much quicker and easier but he was my second so probably would have been easier anyway. If my DS2 had been back to back I would have done the exercises to try and move him.

helenhull Mon 03-May-04 22:13:47

to Gloworm , my midwife and docs have said i have a big baby .They say big and long also .Wow a 10 pounder for u,hope mines not that big.x

Clayhead Mon 03-May-04 22:21:20

My first was back to back, I had no idea until she was born and had also not read anything about it being more painful beforehand. I had a normal delivery, used gas and air and pethidine and the whole thing, from first contraction to delivery was about 10 hours, the first 5 hours were spent at home and were manageable without any pain relief. There does seem to be a rel range of experiences!

spots Tue 04-May-04 08:48:00

Am in same position as you helen (so to speak) with baby due friday. Don't think it has moved an inch since I found out its position weeks ago and did all the birth ball stuff etc. - However am glad it's first baby as I have nothing to compare it to, and midwives keep saying it's most common for babies to turn during labour. (yes, but When during labour? is what I want to know !) ... let's compare notes afterwards and good luck!

Toothache Tue 04-May-04 08:55:44

My ds was OP and didn't turn until I was pushing. But my labour was 6-7hrs in total and I managed on Diamorphine and Gas & Air. All the pain was in my back, in fact I don't remember getting any pain at all across my abdomen. I had read so many horror stories about a back to back labour too, but in reality (for me) it was okay. I've nothing to compare it too though. I did end up pushing for quite a while (presumably until he turned).

oliveoil Tue 04-May-04 09:58:27

Dd was back to back but I didn't discover this until I was at the hosp the other week for my second pregnancy and the doc went through my notes! Wasn't told at the time, I had a fairly long labour and in the end an emergency c. BUT the doc said it wasn't necessarily the back to back that caused this, but it 'may' have dragged out the labour a bit.

Mears is the one you need, mumsnet's midwife , hopefully she will post later for you.

suedonim Tue 04-May-04 12:57:03

I've had two OP and two OA labours. The OP's were longer esp second stage and the pain was more in my back but I don't think I could say there was a *massive* difference between the types of labour and I didn't need forceps or anything. Hth.

Blu Tue 04-May-04 13:19:22

DS was OP, and I think it helped, in that the contractions were slower to build up. It DID take a long time, but there was plenty of time for my endorphins to kick in, and at 7-8 cms I was chatting on the phone to a friend! There was no point when I felt I was in real pain.

However, DS did then get stuck after a lengthy 2nd stage, and had to be dragged out with a ventouse. I think this was partially because he was OP, but also his head was at the top of the head measurement centiles, and I the obstsrician made some observations about the shape of my pelvis and strength of pelvic floor which she said weren't helping.

basically, do the excercises, but excorcise the scare stories!

Pidge Tue 04-May-04 13:24:35

My one and only dd was OP and I had the classic back labour - 48 hours of very painful regular contractions that didn't even count as proper labour as I was under 3cm dilated at the end of it, but utterly shattered owing to no sleep for two days and getting pretty weak having been sick too! Then the 'proper' labour started, eight hours of contractions with only a minute gap between, very painful in my back and I was still only 5cm dilated and going nowhere. I had brilliant care, opted for an epidural, which was wonderful, and 10 hours after that dd had turned at some point and was born without further intervention.

I hope I do have another baby one day and I would definitely do anything I could to encourage it into the right position.

But what the tales here tell you is that labour is utterly unpredictable and a completley individual experience. I wish you lots of luck and most of all happy times when the baby does arrive!

serenequeen Tue 04-May-04 13:28:47

oh snap, pidge. hours and hours regular and extremely painful contractions - repeated told "not proper labour". grrrr.

lydialemon Tue 04-May-04 17:22:07

I've had 3 OP labours lasting 12, 4(induced) and 6 hours, two were just gas and air and one I also had pethadine, but too late to help. I also had no tearing with any of them. This isn't a 'brag' just to say the labour doesn't have to be bad. Incidently all mine turned as they came down the birth canal (awkward buggers )

IME I had more problems with OP before the birth, with constant back pain meaning I had problems sleeping, sitting or standing for more than 10 minutes at a time!

LucieB Tue 04-May-04 20:56:04

My dd was posterior lie. After a 20 hour labour with ds, I was expecting her to be the same but she only gave me 3 hours and although it was painful, I can't say it was any worse than with ds - perhaps a little more intense but that may well have been because it was all so quick! No tearing for me either time so its not all that bad. Just remember, people do love to tell the gory stories

baldrick Tue 04-May-04 21:08:51

Hi helenhull, my ds was back to back and from first contraction to birth it was over 24 hours...and yes it was painful...however, I fell asleep for an hour or two after a paracatemol, just before I started to dilate (body was exhausted and neede a rest)...

dd was much quicker, from 7.30pm on the friday night was the first contraction and she was born at 3.18pm...

One thing I will add is that dd was quicker yes, but after tens had worn off with ds (at least 12 hours beforehand) the pain was EXACTLY the same (with dd had no pain relief whatsoever as was too late, and tbh labour is painful enough regardless of the position of baby....I don't think the pain was any different with either of them (just go for any pain relief you can and the best of luck). baldrickxxx

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