18 doctors weighed in:

Does a lower back ache mean I am in labor?

18 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pam Yoder
Obstetrics & Gynecology - Maternal Fetal Medicine
6 doctors agree

In brief: Not necessarily

There are many aches reported by pregnant women.
Most providers want to hear about recurrent, severe or worrisome aches or pain. One of the more common complaints in late pregnancy is backache. It typically is due to changes in muscles, "swaying" of the spine (lordosis), pressure on the pelvis, etc. Low back pain can also be associated with early labor. If in doubt or high-risk, women should call.

In brief: Not necessarily

There are many aches reported by pregnant women.
Most providers want to hear about recurrent, severe or worrisome aches or pain. One of the more common complaints in late pregnancy is backache. It typically is due to changes in muscles, "swaying" of the spine (lordosis), pressure on the pelvis, etc. Low back pain can also be associated with early labor. If in doubt or high-risk, women should call.
Dr. Pam Yoder
Dr. Pam Yoder
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5 doctors agree

In brief: No

One has to be a little more specific.
Back pain that comes and goes may be contractions, while continuous back pain may not be. If there is concern its better to be evaluated by a physician.

In brief: No

One has to be a little more specific.
Back pain that comes and goes may be contractions, while continuous back pain may not be. If there is concern its better to be evaluated by a physician.
Dr. Nicholas Fogelson
Dr. Nicholas Fogelson
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Dr. Kathryn Mercer
Obstetrics & Gynecology
3 doctors agree

In brief: No

Full term labor is pretty hard to mistake.
Early labor may be mild, but once it's in full swing, you should be able to tell. Put your hand on your belly and see if it is hardening with the pains. Another sign is rythmicity: contractions come and go, so the pain goes pretty much away and then returns.

In brief: No

Full term labor is pretty hard to mistake.
Early labor may be mild, but once it's in full swing, you should be able to tell. Put your hand on your belly and see if it is hardening with the pains. Another sign is rythmicity: contractions come and go, so the pain goes pretty much away and then returns.
Dr. Kathryn Mercer
Dr. Kathryn Mercer
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Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine
3 doctors agree

In brief: No

I had lower back pain on and off from about 20 weeks on and my doctor said it was totally normal.
I started doing some stretches and it seemed to work.

In brief: No

I had lower back pain on and off from about 20 weeks on and my doctor said it was totally normal.
I started doing some stretches and it seemed to work.
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
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Dr. Jerome Yaklic
Obstetrics & Gynecology
3 doctors agree

In brief: No

It could especially if it is crampy and comes and goes every few minutes.
However, it could be due to additional strain in your low back muscles due to your expanding belly and less postural support from your stomach (rectus) muscles. It could also be pain in your pelvis (si joints) from the hip bones "moving" to create more room for your baby to come out. If uncertain see your healthcare provider.

In brief: No

It could especially if it is crampy and comes and goes every few minutes.
However, it could be due to additional strain in your low back muscles due to your expanding belly and less postural support from your stomach (rectus) muscles. It could also be pain in your pelvis (si joints) from the hip bones "moving" to create more room for your baby to come out. If uncertain see your healthcare provider.
Dr. Jerome Yaklic
Dr. Jerome Yaklic
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Dr. Eugene Louie-Ng
Obstetrics & Gynecology
2 doctors agree

In brief: No

Not necessarily. If it seems like rhythmic cramping/tightening in the lower back or is associated with that sensation in the abdomen, then it may be labor. Braxton-hicks, or false labor pains, are irregular contractions/pains that are self limited and not regular in nature.
Often it is better to have false alarms and be checked for labor than to completely ignore the symptoms.

In brief: No

Not necessarily. If it seems like rhythmic cramping/tightening in the lower back or is associated with that sensation in the abdomen, then it may be labor. Braxton-hicks, or false labor pains, are irregular contractions/pains that are self limited and not regular in nature.
Often it is better to have false alarms and be checked for labor than to completely ignore the symptoms.
Dr. Eugene Louie-Ng
Dr. Eugene Louie-Ng
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Dr. Padmavati Garvey
Obstetrics & Gynecology
2 doctors agree

In brief: No

Not necessarily. Lover back pain is extremely common in pregnancy.
It is due to the added weight and strain on the back. Labor typically has a pattern to it. Speak to your doctor.

In brief: No

Not necessarily. Lover back pain is extremely common in pregnancy.
It is due to the added weight and strain on the back. Labor typically has a pattern to it. Speak to your doctor.
Dr. Padmavati Garvey
Dr. Padmavati Garvey
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