posterior, back labor, hydrotherapy, water birth, water therapy

Posterior Babies and Hydrotherapy

During the labor and delivery of a posterior baby the bony part of the head is pressed against the bony part of the pelvis. The pressure of the contractions pushes the head into the pelvis and can cause tremendous back pain. Because the posterior position puts bone near bone, it is more difficult for the baby to fit into the pelvis.

Posterior babies generally require longer labors, and if the baby persists in a posterior position, second stage may be longer than average as well. This can be fatiguing for a woman.

What helps alleviate pain from a posterior position?

Having the ability to move and change positions during labor, especially upright positions, can increase the chances of your baby moving into an anterior position. Discuss with your caregiver any concerns he or she has with letting a slow labor progress without intervention.

It may be helpful to engage in pelvic rocking or other activities to gently move the pelvis during pregnancy to help encourage the baby into a proper position. This can include rocking on a birth ball, hip squeezes, and side-lying release.

In addition, hydrotherapy may help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort. Many hospitals do not have this option, so you will need to check with them in advance.

Benefits of hydrotherapy in labor include helping the mother to relax by soothing tired and aching muscles and ligaments; in addition, the hydro-static pressure of the water helps to relieve some of the discomfort of contractions. In addition, by leaning on your partner for support, you can utilize the water to float through the contractions.

Anecdotal benefits of water birth include less pain, relaxation of the pelvic floor, and allowing the perineum to be more elastic and relaxed.

Three situations that would preclude a woman from giving birth in the water are:

  • a herpes lesion
  • severe meconium
  • if the baby is preterm

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