Back labor is a type of labor in which the mother feels most if not all of her contraction pain in her lower back. In many cases of back labor and severe labor pains there are no known causes. Some people claim it's due to the position of the baby's head on the mother's back, when it's "sunny side up" or occiput posterior, but it can also happen when there is a perfectly normal position of the baby.

Labor back pain not only occurs during the labor contractions, but it can also happen in between contractions so that the mother often feel continuous pain in her back throughout labor.

Most babies' face points towards the mother's back. This is typically a much more favorable position for labor and delivery, and is said to be in the occiput anterior position.

Back labor can be associated with the baby being in occiput posterior position where the face points towards the mother's abdomen. Since the occiputal bone in the back of the baby's skull aligns itself with the posterior section of the mother's pelvis it can increase her pain perception.

In addition to back pain, mothers who experience back labor (especially when related to a baby in the occuput posterior position) often have the following signs and symptoms that occur with back labor:

  • Slowed progress of labor - it is not unusual to have slowed progress or even a long break in progress during labor with back labor.
  • Going into labor after your due date - it is not uncommon to be "late" with a posterior baby.
  • No contractions after your water breaks - sometimes posterior babies/back labor causes your labor to start with water breaking but labor contractions do not begin on their own for quite awhile.Irregular labor contraction pattern - another symptom of a posterior baby/back labor is a contraction pattern that is not regular, for example labor contractions that "couple" with two together and longer spaces between them.
  • Longer time pushing - it is not unusual for a posterior baby to take longer to push out since the diameter of the baby's head in the posterior position is larger as it descends.

There are no guarantees to prevent back labor or an occiput posterior baby