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Did you know that labor comes in several forms? You can feel contractions in different parts of your abdomen, and it's generally agreed by women who have experienced both "normal" labor and back labor that the latter is more painful. What exactly is back labor, what causes it, and how can you cope?

Most women feel contractions in the front part of their abdomen, concentrated around their uterus. The pain of a contraction usually goes away when the contraction ends, giving the laboring woman time to relax and prepare for the next round. Back labor is a little different. This type of labor pain can be felt in the lower back, and some women continue experiencing this back pain even when they are not in the middle of a contraction. So, what causes back labor?

Many medical professionals hold that anterior babies, also known as babies who are "sunny side up" tend to make for back labor. The ideal fetal position during labor is posterior vertex, which means that the baby has her or his face towards your back, and is head down. Anterior babies have their face towards your belly, but are still head down. When your baby is anterior, he presses onto your back with each contraction, and the process of sliding down and through the birth canal during labor and delivery is a bit harder. Thankfully, there are quite a few things you can do to cope with back labor more easily.

Many women find that counter pressure onto their back is really helpful, and having a hot shower or laboring in a birth tub can also bring relief. You may want to have an active labor in which you walk around at will, and some moms say spending time on all fours took the pressure off their backs. And of course, there is always epidural anesthesia, if you feel comfortable with that.

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