I read all the books, all the blogs, watched all the YouTube videos, went to several birthing classes, and guess what? No one ever told me that consistent lower back pain was a sign of preterm labor.
In fact, I happened to come upon this knowledge on accident sitting in on a parenting class at my current job, just a few days ago! The woman teaching the class made an offhand comment like “Oh yeah, and if you have a backache for several hours you may be going into preterm labor.” I was so shocked that I actually interrupted the class to ask her to repeat herself. She then added, “A lot of women ignore it as a regular symptom of pregnancy and then are surprised when they have a baby a few hours later.”
This is exactly what happened to me. I had lower back pain for about 24 hours. I could still walk, talk, eat, etc. It did not come in waves and I had never had Braxton Hicks. So I took it as normal pregnancy pains and tried to relax. After a night of tossing and turning, I got of bed, felt a pop, and then a gush–my water had broken. The pain became more intense and began to come in waves, but still remained in my lower back and hips. Eight hours later, I delivered Grey.
A lot happened after that, and Grey had a short stay in the NICU. All is well, and he is a healthy, happy two-year-old, but perhaps his first few weeks in this world could have been a bit more pleasant had I known that this seemingly normal symptom was really a warning sign of preterm labor.
For more information about preterm labor check out this FAQ page from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.