Birth Definitions

Back Labor Definition


Back labor is a term used in the pregnancy and birthing industry to describe the pain and discomfort associated with contractions during childbirth. Back labor is characterized by intense lower back pain during contractions, as well as pressure on the rectum and vagina. 

Back labor happens when the baby’s head presses on the mother’s pelvic bones, which in turn press on the nerves and muscles in the lower back. This can cause pain in the lower back that is different from the pain experienced during Braxton-Hicks contractions or when the baby moves into a posterior position.

Disambiguation details may include mention of false labor, which is similar to back labor but does not result in childbirth.


Generally, back labor is associated with the position of the baby in the pelvis, particularly the occiput posterior position (sunny-side up) where the baby’s head is down but is facing the mother’s pubic bone. There are not enough studies that support this observation however. The other observed causes include first time pregnancy or if the baby is larger than average.

Related Terms

Some terms closely associated with back labor include:


-Lower back pain

-Rectal pressure

-Vaginal pressure


This image shows how often the term ‘Back Labor’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:

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