Why is Chiropractic Care important during my pregnancy?
Throughout the course of your pregnancy, there will be many physiological and hormonal changes as your body prepares for the birth of your baby.
• Center of gravity moves forward increasing the lumbar curve and placing extra strain and force through the lumbar spinal joints.
• The hormone relaxin loosens joints; increasing mobility and decreasing stability which creates aggravation of previous joint injuries and amplifies pelvic imbalances.
• Growing baby and increased fetal movement creates expansion of lower rib cage which can be aggravating to mid back joints that connect to ribs.
• Modified gait becomes wide, creating a variation in skeletal joint and muscle mobility, aggravating the pelvic joints, hip joints and sciatic nerves.
• Modified posture through shoulders to offset change in center of gravity causes loss of cervical curve leading to headaches.
• Pelvic misalignment alters pelvic opening and creates tension through the soft tissues which support the uterus.
• Sacral subluxation disrupts spinal biomechanics of the pelvic region which may contribute to dytocia ( difficult labor).
• What are the benefits of chiropractic care prior to pregnancy?
• Promotes regular menstrual cycles
• Ensures proper nerve supply to reproductive organs.
• Ensures proper pelvic alignment and biomechanics prior to pregnancy.
What are the benefits of chiropractic during pregnancy?
• Pelvic alignment and balance
• Reduction in preEclampsia
• Less back labor
• Reduced need for pain medication
• Less back pain
• Shorter labor times
It has been reported that there may be a relationship between back pain throughout pregnancy and a longer duration of the labor and delivery process. A retrospective review of statistics reported that primigravida women who seek chiropractic care throughout gestation have, on average, a 25% shorter labor time whereas multiparous women who seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have, on average, 31% shorter labor times. (source)
• More comfort while breastfeeding
• Greater production of breastmilk
• Less incidence of postpartum depression
Is chiropractic safe for pregnant women?
• Chiropractic is non-invasive, drug-free discipline meaning that the risks associated with it are very low. Adverse events are very rare and your chiropractor will assess you and consult with your OB/GYN for any risks before commencing care.
• In general, there are no increased risks or side effects with chiropractic for pregnant women.
• Your prenatal chiropractor may use special techniques or table modifications to avoid unnecessary pressure on the abdomen.
Can chiropractic help with breech fetal position in the womb ?
• A chiropractic adjustment called the Webster technique is a specific sacral adjustment to help facilitate the mother’s pelvic alignment and nerve system function. This in turn balances pelvic muscles and ligaments, reduces torsion to the uterus. This may offer a greater potential for optimal fetal positioning. Originally used for breech presentations and then posterior presentations, current research is revealing the benefits of receiving the Webster technique throughout pregnancy for the prevention of dystocia.
• One study showed a reported 92% of babies turning to a vertex position following use of the Webster Technique by a chiropractor. The study also suggests that the Webster technique may be beneficial to use in the 8th month of pregnancy when breech presentation is unlikely to spontaneously change and when external cephalic version technique is not effective. (source)
• It is important to realize that chiropractors are not turning babies or assessing and managing any fetal conditions or positions directly, but rather ensuring balance in a pregnant woman’s body which may result in the fetus achieving an ideal position for birth.
• It is recommended that pregnant women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to achieve pelvic balance, giving babies a better chance of moving into a correct position for birth. Optimal baby position at the time of birth also results in an easier labor and thus safer deliver for mother and baby.
Should the mother or baby receive post-partum chiropractic care?
• The birthing process, normal or cesarean can be traumatic for the mother and baby. Follow up care and management post partum has been very successful in our clinics. It is extremely common to see symptoms arise within the 1st year post partum.
• The most common conditions we typically see a newborn for are: difficulty breast feeding (sucking reflex), colic, constipation and torticollis. (source)
• The normal birthing process is a potential source of trauma to the infant’s spine. Some chiropractors extend their understanding of spinal segmental dysfunction, or subluxation in chiropractic terminology, to apply to newborn spinal function, with the resultant concern for the health of the infant. The induced vector of force that may cause trauma to the newborn includes traction of the cervical spine coupled with hyperextension during the birth process. Forceps, cesarean, and suction or vacuum extraction can also cause trauma to the newborn’s cervical and thoracic spine and spinal cord and may warrant chiropractic evaluation. Brachial plexus and cervicothoracic nerve root damage, such as Klumpke’s paralysis and Erb’s palsy, are a potential result of applying common birthing methods. In a review of 1000 infants, Gutmann suggested that birth trauma frequently affected the atlanto-occipital joint, causing blockage or vertebral subluxation. Correction of such a presentation may be accomplished through a light, precise, biomechanical adjustment, using various gentle techniques. (source)
• Regarding the postpartum patient, previous research has indicated through a prospective cohort study that in patients with moderate to severe pregnancy-related pelvic pain, sacroiliac joint asymmetry laxity is predictive of persisting complaints postpartum in 77% of women. The implementation of chiropractic care as part of the treatment protocol for the pregnant patient may reduce the likelihood of in utero constraint and its associated risks after parturition. Such care may also prevent or reduce the incidence of common prenatal conditions seen with neurologic and physiological involvement postpartum. Likewise, the postpartum patient faces physiological changes as the body begins to return to prepregnancy status. After delivery, rehabilitative exercises should be used for weakened spinal and abdominal muscles. Continued chiropractic care may also be beneficial in assisting proper restoration of normal spinal biomechanics. (source)
“Women who received chiropractic adjustments in their 3rd trimester were able to carry and deliver their child with much more comfort.” -Ivin Henderson, MD