Pregnancy Chiropractic Care
Once pregnant, Chiropractic can help in so many ways. It’s a time when our center of gravity moves forward and increases the lumbar or low back curve. This can cause extra strain on the lumbo-pelvic joints (the bones that make up your low back, hips, and pelvis). Making sure everything is lined up properly can improve the way your body accommodates the extra forces on your body and reduces the pain you may experience. Then there’s our friend Relaxin hormone. It’s a hormone designed to help your joints loosen up to prepare your pelvis for delivery but it can also create hypermobility that may cause previous injuries or misalignments to re-emmerge. It can also intensify any pelvic misalignments and make the muscles work harder to maintain alignment and joint function.
While pregnant, we often develop a “waddle.” That abnormal style of walking can affect the way you feel especially if your aren’t lined up properly. All this is happening as your baby grows. Your body needs to be able to accommodate that growth and expand symmetrically. Making sure you are balanced properly is a big part of that because an adjustment is designed to specifically do that… make sure your pelvis is in the proper position. So, an adjustment can make sure everything is lined up properly, help you using your joints as symmetrically as possible, and reduce the body’s need to adapt to things that aren’t moving correctly. The nice “side-effect” is that you move and function with less pain and discomfort.
Preparing to Get Pregnant
So many factors can affect fertility but stress is a significant one. As stated earlier, it is important to note that chiropractic does NOT cure fertility problems. We don’t aim to specifically treat the issues causing fertility. What we do is work to regulate the nervous system, specifically the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) in this case. The ANS regulates heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, and its proper function is important to fertility among other things. It’s the director behind the fight or flight we always hear about. The problem is, when we are in constant stress or fight or flight, our bodies are too busy trying to help us manage the stress and isn’t necessarily worried about improving your chances to get pregnant. Based on several case studies and published research, chiropractic can not only just improve the way your spine moves, but also improve the way your nervous system functions. When the nervous system is no longer in fight or flight, it can communicate the best way possible and in theory, improve your chances of getting pregnant. Studies show that a calm ANS can normalize the menstrual cycle, improve hormone function, and decrease the stress response in the body, making it the ideal environment for reproduction.
Labor & Delivery
While Chiropractic is important during pregnancy, it’s also designed to prepare the body for labor and delivery. Studies show it helps with less back labor, reduced need for pain medication, shortened labor times, and decreased chances for intervention. Because the uterus is suspended in the pelvic cavity and attached to the bones that make up the pelvis, those bones must be properly lined up. One of the most important pelvic bones that need to be aligned is called the Sacrum. It’s the upside down triangular bone at the base of your spine. It is a particular focus for a specialized Chiropractic assessment and adjusting technique called Webster Technique. The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association defines Webster Technique as, “…a specific chiropractic sacral analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation/ SI joint dysfunction. In doing so, neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is facilitated.” The sacrum is one of the MOST important bones of the pelvis because sacral misalignments may contribute to difficult labor for Mom. It can cause impaired uterine function due to inadequate communication between the brain and uterus. This can affect pelvic contraction. A misaligned sacrum may prevent your baby from getting into the best position to be born. Correction of sacral misalignments may have a positive effect on all of these causes of difficult labor. As a Webster Certified Chiropractor, I feel it is imperative that your Chiropractor has taken the special steps to be certified in the technique. This will ensure he or she is most up to date on the technique as well as the special accommodations and research necessary to help your outcomes be as positive as possible.
The 4th Trimester
Pregnancy and birth are a lot of work for a body. Not only are you recovering from growing and delivering another person, you are also tasked with taking care of one! During the 4th trimester (the 3 months after delivery), you’re carrying a baby around, consoling a baby, and feeding a baby as your body is trying to return to its pre-pregnancy state. All these things you are doing while dealing with possible pelvic floor muscle imbalances/weaknesses from pregnancy and/or delivery, center of gravity changes due to no longer being pregnant, and the hypermobility effects of relaxin hormone. Did we mention recovery is further complicated by sleep interruptions and the stress involved with a life event change? Being adjusted and restoring normal joint and nervous system function can help the body better recover, reduce neck, back, and pelvic pain, and provide more comfort while breastfeeding.