The 4th trimester is the term often given to the 12 weeks after a Mom has given birth. This is a time of healing the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, rapidly shifting center of gravity, changes in posture as you take care of a newborn, and healing from labor and delivery, and for those that choose to breastfeed, possible postural changes due increased breast size.
There are also the effects of Relaxin hormone present in the body during pregnancy that can make spine and pelvic imbalances more noticeable due to ligament laxity or hypermobility. Let’s also not forget that sleep in the 4th trimester is often interrupted and of poor quality. Add in the stress of transitioning to life with a newborn and you have the perfect storm for a difficult 4th trimester.
To explain it even better, check out this excerpt article from The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s Quarterly Magazine, Pathways: (Courtney Meltvedt, DC, Pathways Magazine #45)
During pregnancy, your spine and the soft tissues of your body undergo the most rapid transformation that they will go through in your entire life. The first part of this change happens over a nine-month period, but the second part of this change (the return to previous form) happens more rapidly, as the weight of the baby is suddenly no longer there. Your body is able to integrate these changes with more ease when you receive chiropractic care. In fact, many of the common symptoms during pregnancy, especially neck pain, back pain, headaches and heartburn, are related to the stress on your nervous system from this rapid change.
Remember, the spine encases the central nervous system and when it is misaligned, it can put tension on the exiting nerves and decrease normal function. The same goes for the fourth trimester. Your spine is trying to adjust to the absence of the baby in your belly. Chiropractic adjustments aid beautifully in this process to realign your spine and pelvis. Your spine is also very “soft” at the end of pregnancy. Your body has produced a hormone called relaxin to soften the joints and ligaments and allow for your pelvis to open wide and birth your baby. As you begin to nurse your baby and carry him in your arms, you may find that you feel back pain and headaches again because this softness allows your joints to become misaligned more easily…chiropractic is an excellent way to restore function and reduce pain and discomfort.
Where does Chiropractic come into play?
As a chiropractor, my goal is to make sure your body is not just feeling good but recovering and functioning as best as it possibly can. This is done by focusing on the way the body’s structure and the way it functions works together. Don’t forget, the spine encases and contains the Central Nervous System (your brain and spinal cord). When a spinal bone is misaligned, it can put tension or pressure on the nerves coming off of the spine and affect or even decrease normal function. My job is to gently re-align any spinal bones that aren’t in proper alignment and help restore proper function. Proper function means you’ll be able to use that 4th trimester to recover and enjoy that new baby you’ve just welcomed into your family.