More and more women are discovering the benefits associated with chiropractic care and pregnancy. Pregnancy is a natural process and should NOT be considered a disease or illness. Pregnancy and motherhood is an amazing time, but can also be an overwhelming experience. There is no better time to start chiropractic care than before your little one is born. There are so many benefits one can receive with regular chiropractic care. Chiropractors are aptly suited to work with the body at any stage of life to assist the body in its ability to adapt and function optimally.
Everyone can identify the physical changes that occur during pregnancy for mom and baby, but what we cannot see are all of the hormonal and chemical changes occurring. All of these changes are controlled and coordinated by our master system, the nervous system. You need a healthy spine to adapt and respond correctly to all of these changes. As a chiropractor our responsibility is to align the spine through gentle adjustments to the vertebrae and remove irritation and relieve pressure on the nerves, which will allow the message to travel freely to the brain, organs, and tissues it serves.
Prior to conception, regular adjustments can assist in promoting a regular menstrual cycle and optimal function of the female and male reproductive system by restoring proper nerve function. Chiropractors can also counsel on proper nutrition and lifestyle modifications. It is important for mom to drink plenty of water, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and get adequate amounts of folic acid, protein, iron, and calcium. A healthier pregnancy means an easier labor and delivery, and a better transition for the baby into this life.
According to recent studies, chiropractic care may result in decreased labor times, less pain medications, less medical interventions, and increased comfort during pregnancy and delivery. In one study, women receiving regular chiropractic care were able to reduce labor times by 24% with the first delivery and by 39% with the second and third deliveries. When women receive regular adjustments to the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis the women is able to move and function better. During labor the pelvis is able to make the necessary adjustments for baby. In another study, the need for pain medication (analgesics) was reduced by 50% and 84% of women with back pain reported significant relief during pregnancy with chiropractic care.
Weight gain is expected, especially in the abdomen. This change in weight alters the woman’s center of gravity and pulls the spine forward and downward. This change sets the stage for neck and back pain and sciatica. In addition, the female body releases a hormone called relaxin as delivery approaches. This hormone when secreted loosens ligaments creating instability of the spine. Mothers need to be mindful of their posture, avoid one sided position, and avoid crossing their legs.
During labor, the position of mother and baby is critical. I am Webster certified and will be talking more about this specific technique in fourth blog of the series. This technique will allow optimal fetal positioning and preparation of birth by reducing intrauterine constraint. The traditional back lying position for mom during labor decreases the pelvic diameter making labor more difficult. The baby has a decreased space to pass when mom lies in this position. This delivery position can be the main reason why so many births are traumatic, labor stalls, the mom becomes fatigued and overwhelmed by pain, and medical interventions such as episiotomies, forceps, epidurals, vacuum extraction, and caesarean births are utilized. Squatting is the preferred position because gravity assists in the descent of the baby and the pelvis is allowed to open completely allowing more space for baby to pass.
The frequency of care is dependent on the current condition of mom. I take care of some moms for specific issues such as sciatica, lower back pain, headaches, pubic and round ligament pain and others who come in for regular maintenance care throughout their entire pregnancy. I will provide recommendations and you can decide what best fits your pregnancy. I have completed my certification by the Academy of Family Practice and Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics (CACCP) and am also Webster technique certified. I am passionate about serving expectant families and helping them achieve the pregnancy they desire. My goal is to educate and provide information so you are able to make an informed decision that meets the needs and desires of your family. If you know of anyone having difficulty with their pregnancy or wants an evaluation let us know and we can help!
By Melanie Dockter DC, CACCP