Put simply, pregnancy is a journey. Pregnant women go through physical changes that are both beautiful and exciting, they have great anticipation for their family’s newest member, and they get to learn much more about their body and all-things pregnancy. On the other hand, this journey is also not without hardships; pregnant women experience physical changes that are uncomfortable and painful, have large lists of things to do and acquire in preparation for baby’s arrival, and they’re likely bombarded with a wide range of emotions regarding the days leading up to delivery, the birth itself, and the years following it all. To match all of this, interventions and complications during pregnancy and childbirth are on the rise, which is why it’s no wonder that moms-to-be can feel stressed and overwhelmed throughout their pregnancy. Things don’t have to be like this!
One of the biggest reasons why pregnant women in our office seek chiropractic care is to make sure that they do everything in their power to avoid interventions or complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Our goal for them is to be able to enjoy their pregnancy and to be able to have the birth that they want, which is why its always exciting when we hear from moms under care that their pregnancy and birth was completely different from their previous ones!
Here are some of the more common reasons why pregnant moms come to our office for care:
- Pain relief (i.e. back/hip pain, sciatic pain, rib pain)
- Happy, healthy birth
How can chiropractic care during pregnancy help reduce interventions?
The biggest way that chiropractic care during pregnancy can support you is through specific and gentle chiropractic adjustments. Because your body releases a lot of relaxin hormone during pregnancy, all of the ligaments in your pelvis (and your whole body) become relaxed to accommodate your developing baby and to prepare for birth. Your pelvis is really important because it is the foundation of your body, it carries the weight of your torso, and it takes the brunt of your activities and movements. Because your pelvis is held together by many ligaments and these ligaments are now lax during pregnancy, your pelvis becomes vulnerable to becoming misaligned. In fact, even a simple misstep or the prolonged pressure of sleeping on your side can cause the pelvis to gradually shift out of place and place pressure on the surrounding nerves, which is why sciatic pain and low back pain are so common in pregnancy.
Chiropractic care focuses on correcting these shifts and therefore tackling any discomfort or pain you might feel during your whole pregnancy. Finding this relief is a big deal for women who want to continue to work as late as they can into their pregnancy, to stay physically active during their pregnancy or to simply enjoy their days in comfort. If a mom-to-be feels comfortable or minimal pain during her pregnancy, it makes sense for them to feel more encouraged and empowered to pursue a vaginal birth with no medical interventions.
Correcting Pelvic Biomechanics:
As previously stated, chiropractic treatment focuses on optimizing the structure and proper movement of your pelvis. Relaxin hormone is released throughout pregnancy and it is this hormone that is responsible for making your hips and back more unstable. This means that any small bump or microtrauma can progressively shift your structure out of alignment.
If your pelvis is misaligned, your baby’s movement through the birth canal may be further impeded due to intrauterine constraint and this can create substantial pain during birth, making it more likely for the use of an epidural. Additionally, when baby’s movement is impeded, labor can be prolonged and the likelihood for medical interventions such as Pitocin, forceps, or a C-section can increase. There are multiple other reasons why labor can progress slowly, but by improving your pelvic biomechanics through chiropractic adjustments, you may further decrease this possibility.
When looking for a local chiropractor to treat you during pregnancy, consider choosing one that specializes in pregnancy. In particular, consider choosing a chiropractor who is certified in what’s called the webster technique. This certification is offered by the international chiropractic pediatric association (ICPA) and by having this certification, you can make sure that your chiropractor has additional educational hours that focus on correcting pelvis biomechanics during pregnancy.
Making sure your nervous system is communicating properly:
Chiropractic care during pregnancy not only corrects structural misalignments, another huge goal of the profession is to reduce nerve interference. The nerves that branch out of your spinal cord innervate every single organ and tissue in your body, and so if there are structural shifts putting pressure on the nerves that go to the cardiovascular, endocrine and reproductive systems, removing this interference can help these systems function at their best. By making sure that your body is functioning to the best of it’s ability, you can increase defenses against the chance of developing complications, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension.
Referring out when needed:
There are some cases where pregnant patients under care come in with concerns regarding issues like proper nutrition supplementation, acid reflux, carpal tunnel syndrome, breech presentation, morning sickness, labor time, hormone levels, a healthy sleep cycle, and much more. Because we specialize in prenatal and postpartum care, we have recommendations or referrals for many of these concerns. On the other hand, a very important way we support safety during pregnancy is by also keeping an eye out for serious complications where moms-to-be urgently need to be seen by their OB, a hospital or provider for health care. These include the mention of vaginal bleeding, a spike in blood pressure, severe cramping, substantial pain, and decreased fetal movement.
Pregnancy is a period where your body goes through many changes that can be both very stressful to yourself, as well as physically stressful to your body. Chiropractic care can help you have a comfortable pregnancy and help to avoid medical interventions during birth by:
- Reducing pregnancy related pains
- Correcting structural pelvic imbalances that may impede the birthing process
- Removing nerve interference, which helps to support your body through the massive task of safely developing and delivering your newest family member
If you’d like to know more about how chiropractic care can offer you a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth, check out our office hours and call to schedule an appointment!