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Flat Bellies and Back Labour

(18 Posts)
sassmonkey Wed 07-Oct-09 11:52:24

Hi MNers,

My friend spotted yesterday that I have a flat patch on the front of my belly. She said she had this too, and, without wanting to panic me, that it can mean the baby is positioned back to back. She had terrible back labour as a result.

Has anyone had a similar - or a different - experience that supports or denies that?

If it is likely that baby is back to back, what can I do about it?


rubyslippers Wed 07-Oct-09 11:55:14


back to back or OP babies can result in longer labours

both my DC were back to back and had a lot of back pain with both in labour

DS never turned but still delivered naturally with only gas and air

DD did turn in labour and she shot out in 2 pushes!

get your MW to check your baby's poitions - how many weeks are you?

getting on your hands and knees is good

DingALongCow Wed 07-Oct-09 13:02:17

Hi, yes I had a flat patch too and both DC were back to back.

DD never turned and was born back to back with just gas and air.

DS did turn during labour, again just gas and air.

One thing I noticed is that I had long latent stages, I guess because the cervix wasnt being stimulated in the right way. I was 3 cm for 14+ hours or so of mild contractions, then went from 6cm to delivery in less than an hour with DS. I was 8 centimetres before I ended up at the hospital with DD after 17 hours of mild contractions and delivered 5 hours later. With DD I walked and walked and with DS I stayed active and then rested when I needed too instead. DS's birth was a homebirth and one of the most postive and wonderful experiences I have had; DD's labour was hard but very manageable but with DS I knew I could do it myself and I was more relaxed at home.

I think the RLT I drank helped make the contractions stronger and the TENS machine helped with the back contractions-almost fighting against them which made it easier to bear. I did try to shift both DC using Optimal Foetal Positioning (google for lots of useful links) ie. being on hands and knees a lot but they just swung right back again afterwards which was quite demoralising! Neither engaged fully either before labour either.

Good luck!

cwtchy Wed 07-Oct-09 13:36:17

I had this flat patch too, the midwife told me baby was back to back. You can sometimes feel little wriggles low down at the front too, which are the hands facing outwards. This can make labour longer and more painful, but not always - I had about 10 contractions after my waters broke and DS popped out after 2 pushes!

There is a website called spinning babies, it gives lots of ideas for trying to turn a back to back baby. Basically you need to use gravity to try and swing the baby round - leaning over an exercise ball is good.

Littlefish Wed 07-Oct-09 14:05:32

If you google optimal foetal positioning, it will give you lots of strategies for encouraging your baby into a better position.

I had quite an odd bump shape due to dd being back to back. My initial stage of labour was very long (4 days). I had a water birth which really helped with the pain.

I agree with cwtchy - you need to get yourself onto all fours! I spent hours kneeling over a beanbag. Dd must have turned at some point during the final stage of my labour because she came out the right way.

sassmonkey Wed 07-Oct-09 14:43:05

Thank you all for your advice and for sharing your experience. I'm very impressed that several of you had long, painful back labour and still only had water or gas and air! I'm not sure I will be that brave!

I definitely think baby is back to back - i feel its little tickley fingers a lot! I only seem to get what I think is foot movement on my right side, so perhaps the baby is back to back but with a twist to the right? Don't see a midwife for two weeks, which is why I'm puzzling this out myself!

I am currently 32 weeks. Is there still a chance that the baby will turn of its own accord? At what point should I start going hard with the hands-and-knees and birthing ball business?

Thanks for the websites, will look at them all.

bumpsoon Wed 07-Oct-09 14:44:44

Agree with everyone else ,my DS was full back to back and ended up a ventouse delivery ,but only because he had the cord round his neck ,DD did oblige by turning as she was coming out ! as both were back to back have nothing to compare with , agree about the keeping moving thing though ,with Ds went to hospital early and ended up straight on the bed ,not good for back labour ,with Dd kept going at home and went in when 8 cms . Hoping for a home birth with this one smile

belgo Wed 07-Oct-09 14:50:10

Try not to worry! All my babies were back to back during pregnancy, two turned during labour and came out fine; but one baby didn't turn and that was a difficult labour but I still managed a home water birth, so it wasn't that bad.

Get on your hands and knees during the labour and also during pregnancy - when the baby is awake and kicking it is more likely to turn. Also keep yourself active, plenty of walking and exercise.

lechatnoir Wed 07-Oct-09 22:42:32

I've had 2 back to back deliveries - DS1 was slow & very intense & had epidural before vaginally delivery but DS2 was born without even a sniff of G&A after a pretty swift labour (1st twinge 6am, arrived at BC 12noon, waters break 1pm born 2:30pm) - he wasn't small at 9lb10oz & & didn't need any stitches so it definitely doesn't have to be bad news.

Just keep mobile & keep upright!!!

DrNortherner Wed 07-Oct-09 22:43:57

Weird, I had this flat patch to with ds and he was back to back.

DrNortherner Wed 07-Oct-09 22:44:51

Meant to say I had a failed ventouse and forceps delivery <ouch>

Epidural here though.

weegiemum Wed 07-Oct-09 22:50:00

My dd1 turned as I went into labour to become back to back! She was anterior at my first examinationa dn 4 hours later was totally the other way round - she's always been awkward!

It was a 37 hour labour with a syntocin drip for 4 hours and a ventouse delivery - she was a "stargazer" (face up) delivery in the end, by ventouse. But I did it on 2 shots of diamorphine and G&A. She was 9lb12oz!

I think the important thing is not to be freaked out by it.

My subsequent 2 were both simple anterior labours, even though one was a 37 week induction.

funtimewincies Thu 08-Oct-09 10:21:02

Also got a flat patch and this one is back to back. My mw has been giving me tips on how to bag the birthing pool at the hospital (can't book it in advance obviously) as she reckons that this would help immensely. I've been trying the 'all fours' thing but with no success so far.

Ds was 'normal' position, so I'm expecting a longer, harder labour. I might me pleasantly surprised though!

I did wonder whether the different bump shape was because of the different position...

sassmonkey Thu 08-Oct-09 14:38:33

Thanks everyone for the reassuring stories. There isn't much we can do about it, other than crawl around, etc, so it's just something I'll have to deal with if/when it happens!

funtime do share the pool-bagging tips!

How late can a babe change positions before it isn't likely there will be a change prior to labour?

I like the 'stargazer' term, weegiemum! How uncooperative that your dd1 turned the wrong way!

Anyone know why back-to-back causes more pain and a prolonged labour? Just trying to imagine the logistics of it.

funtimewincies Thu 08-Oct-09 18:40:41

Sassmonkey grin, timing is everything apparently!

1)Phone the labour ward as soon as possible and even if you won't be going in for ages, keeping saying that you want to use the pool.
2)Stress the 'back-to-back' thing.
3)Every time you speak to someone at the hospital, mention the birth pool, even if you begin to sound like a stuck record.
4)Ask, don't wait and presume that they've taken any notice of what you want!

sassmonkey Fri 09-Oct-09 10:10:08

Excellent, thanks funtime grin. I shall employ the broken record technique!

smee Fri 09-Oct-09 11:14:11

I had back to back, and as others have said, apart from the pressure on your spine being incredibly intense so you get no rest between contractions, it can also take an age from start to finish. With me it was nigh on 48 hours. So if that's where you find yourself, with hindsight I'd say don't try and be super human. So yes try no drugs, try birthing pool (I did for 4 hours then got too wrinkled + fed up!). But then accept some help. I left it too long (36 hours +) and then the epidural didn't take. Result was I was totally exhausted by time DS was born and had ventouse and then forceps to get him out. Might be wrong, but my gut feeling is if I'd have gone for the epidural earlier I'd have had an easier birth as I wouldn't have been too exhausted to push him out.

DingALongCow Fri 09-Oct-09 16:01:44

Sassmonkey- DS changed from back to back to anterior in the last hour of labour so they can turn right to the end. It wasnt very pleasant - lots of pelvic pain- but it didnt take long (with hindsight lol!)

My midwife explained that with an anterior presentation the baby tucks its chin in and presents a smaller part of its skull to the birth canal, but posterior the head isnt tucked in so a larger part of the skull has to be pushed through. Also the baby's head can sometimes be pressed against the cervix in the wrong way so can not stimulate the cervix as strongly, hence a longer latent phase and slow dilation. Plus the baby's head is pushing against your lower spine which is why the contractions are all in the back. I asked lots of questions because i wanted to understand the process-it really did help.

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