What If…There is Lumbar Disc Herniation

Lumbar Disc Herniations stink, but they don’t have to ruin your labor and delivery experience.

Lumbar Disc Hernations, nearly always happen in a flexed position (bend forward, knees toward chest position). Therefore, we want to AVOID that position in labor and delivery. A microscopic percentage of you could herniate in extension (back super straight), in that case, use your amazing brains and reverse my below recommendations, as we want to avoid the position of injury and encourage movement that feels good.

Watch this 2 min, 30-second video for education on positions to try, and to avoid, if this is you. As always, text summary follows video, and is included in downloadable form on main Special Considerations Page

Delivery Positions to TRY with Lumbar Disc Herniation

  • Anything with back extended (so we WANT to keep knees away from, or below, hips & chest)
  • Sidelying, with top leg supported on birth-peanut-ball or by birth partner
  • Standing, supported by partner with sheet-towel
  • Semi squat (Middle Range. Not too deep. This tractions spine. Too deep flexes spine which = sad face )
  • Kneeling (if not pain producing)
  • Kneeling-Lunge (if not pain producing)
  • All Fours over ball (if not pain producing)

Delivery Positions to AVOID with Lumbar Disc Herniation

  • Standard lithotomy (the old usual ‘go to’ on back with knees pulled to chest) is THE WORST POSITION FOR YOU, IF YOU HAVE A STANDARD DISC HERNIATION!!! If you have a disc herniation, do not labor or deliver here, unless you have no other option. If you MUST labor here, can you put a rolled towel, or something, under low back to maintain some extension (or at least neutrality)?
  • Anything with back flexed (so we want to AVOID knees toward chest, or hips higher than knees, positions)
  • Deep squatting (partial squat to ‘kind-of-deep’ can traction spine, which is good…but too deep flexes spine which = 🙁
  • Child’s pose or sitting back on heels from all fours position
  • Forward bending over a chair or ball
  • Anything where knee is pulled up to chest (even just one side)