Pregnancy and Prenatal Chiropractic
While experiencing the miracle of life is a magical thing, this is not to say that it is anywhere near as easy as magic. In fact, it’s far from it. During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences a multitude of changes, from weight gain and pains, to an entire shift in gravity. And throughout these changes, sometimes the mom-to-be can be left feeling tired, sore, and uncomfortable.
Well, did you know that chiropractic is a safe and healthy way to treat pain and discomfort during pregnancy? From conception to delivery, your chiropractor can help make the experience as painless as possible.
There From the Start
Before a successful pregnancy, many women struggle with fertility issues. Conception can be difficult if the body is not working in harmony. Chiropractic works to maintain the health of the spinal column, discs, nerves, and connective tissues, without the use of drugs or surgery. Instead, chiropractic works to align the body such that no blockages occur to halt the flow of hormones and nerves necessary for optimal health.
Using skilled adjustments and a variety of noninvasive treatments, a chiropractor is able to correct misalignments and subluxations present in the body. These types of blockages interfere with the central nervous system and the endocrine system – the two systems necessary to successfully conceive.
A chiropractor can also help assess other issues that could be interfering with fertility, including:
- Poor nutrition
- High stress
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits
What Happens to the Body During Pregnancy?
Once a woman has entered pregnancy, she may be surprised by the variety of changes her body begins to go through. These changes are both physical and endocrinological, as her body rapidly adjusts to create the ideal environment for the developing baby.
While pregnant, most women experience a shift in gravity. As they gain weight to accommodate the new life growing within them, and as their babies continue to grow, their bellies continue to expand. During this transition, women experience a stretching of the uterus as the body prepares for birth. As the uterus stretches forward, as do the abdominal muscles. In fact, a growing baby essential stretches the abdominal muscles completely apart and pulls your lower spine forward.
For one, this explains the pain you feel in your lower spine during pregnancy. Secondly, as your spine pushed forward with the growth of your belly, your center of gravity also changed. Typically our center is, well, center. For pregnant women, their center pitches forward. This affects the posture of pregnant women greatly, as the way they typically carried themselves has quite literally been thrown off center.
Over the course of 9 months, carrying an improper posture can cause back problems long after pregnancy. Poor posture can lead to a visible spinal curve, poor digestion, varicose veins, and even increased chances of cardiovascular issues. Not to mention the back pain, tension, and spasms that can occur over time.
Likewise, as your body releases hormones like progesterone and relaxin during pregnancy to loosen the ligaments in preparation for birth, your pelvic bone is loosened as well. From postural adaptation, a protruding abdomen, an increased curve spinal, and pelvic changes, the body is highly susceptible to misaligned joints.
What are the Benefits of Prenatal Chiropractic?
Chiropractic can provide a multitude of benefits for prenatal mothers. As we’ve mentioned, during pregnancy, the pelvis loosens and shifts. If the pelvis becomes misaligned while loosened, it can reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. This condition is known as intrauterine constraint, and it is actually very common among pregnant women.
Likewise, a misaligned pelvis can also make it difficult for the baby to settle into the best possible position for delivery. Aside from causing the mother discomfort, this can also affect her ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth. If the baby settles into a position in which its feet or buttocks are facing the birth canal, also know as breeching, many times the delivery will result in a cesarean delivery (C-Section). Chiropractic helps to balance the pelvis, to safely avoid breeching as well as intrauterine constraint.
Moreover, chiropractic helps to reduce the pain and discomfort experienced during pregnancy. Potential benefits of prenatal chiropractic include:
- Controlling symptoms of nausea
- Relieving back pain
- Alleviating neck and joint pain
- Preventing a potential C-Section
- Reducing the time of labor and delivery
- Better time sleeping
- Reduced headaches
Plus, a chiropractor can provide diet and exercise tips to help prenatal mothers remain healthy throughout pregnancy.
What Techniques Are Used?
Chiropractic effectively and safely balances the pelvis, while also reducing stress on the uterus and supporting ligaments. This technique is reserved especially for pregnant women, and is known as the Webster Technique. The technique was named after Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). Dr. Webster developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which allows chiropractors to reestablish balance in the pelvis and reduce stress.
When the pelvis is balanced, babies have a greater chance of shifting into the correct position for birth, and the potential worry over breech may be avoided. Additionally, getting the baby into optimal positioning before birth can eliminate the potential for dystocia, otherwise known as difficult labor.
A chiropractor will also use gentle manipulations to assure the stacked vertebrae of the spine are aligned and not tugging forward with the prenatal mother’s center of gravity. Gentle adjustments combined with manual therapy, and sometimes the inclusion of acupuncture, can further reduce tension, pain, and discomfort safely during pregnancy.
Is it Safe?
To date, there are no known contradictions to prenatal chiropractic care. As chiropractic is an all-natural, non-invasive treatment, no harmful chemicals or drugs will come into contact with the baby or mother. Instead, a chiropractor will use a light touch to effectively balance her body and remove subluxations that can be aggravating prenatal pain.
Recently, The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique. Meaning, 82% of mothers were able to avoid breeching with the help of chiropractic. Today, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize room available for the developing baby.
At ChiroCare of Florida, our doctors use a gentle but effective approach to help prenatal mother’s feel their best during pregnancy. By putting mother’s and baby’s health first, their natural and holistic approach helps for a less stressful pregnancy. If you or someone you love is currently a prenatal mother, contact ChiroCare of Florida today to learn more about our prenatal services. Your body – and your baby – will thank you.