- Improving Your Pregnancy with Chiropractic Care.
- Postural Changes In Pregnancy.
- Why Do I Need Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy?
- What is the role of the chiropractor in my pregnancy?
- What sort of chiropractic care should I seek after the birth of my child?
- What are some tips for looking after myself and my baby during my pregnancy?
- Is it difficult to receive an adjustment when pregnant?
- How late in pregnancy is it possible to get an adjustment?
- What is the Webster Breech Technique?
- Careful, Mom! Tips to Ease the Strain of Caring for a Baby.
Improving Your Pregnancy with Chiropractic Care
By the Colorado Chiropractic Association
Today’s woman constantly juggles an incredible number of responsibilities: jobs, children, friendships, marriages, errands, appointments – the list is endless! You’ve got to be healthy just to keep up. Women have special health concerns during every phase of their lives; pregnancy is certainly one of the most important and complex phases. Although the changes women experience from pregnancy are natural, a little extra help is sometimes needed to cope with the dramatic changes in their bodies.
A Perfect Pregnancy
In addition to the noticeable changes pregnancy causes in a woman’s body, pregnancy can cause subtle changes in the musculo-skeletal system; changes your chiropractor is able to detect and correct. Because the baby lies forward in the woman’s body during pregnancy, her center of gravity shifts and the spine alters itself to accommodate this change. As a result, many expectant mothers may experience low back and pelvic pain. These stresses and strains can be relieved with regular chiropractic care. Many chiropractic patients report that their deliveries were faster and more comfortable than deliveries prior to chiropractic care.
It’s especially important during pregnancy that nerve impulses flow from the brain to all parts of the body. A slightly out-of-place vertebra can create nerve irritation that snarls the body’s communication system. Using gentle spinal adjustments, the chiropractic doctor can relieve this nerve irritation, allowing the body’s energy to flow freely again and eliminate periodic pain through nature’s own healing power! Your chiropractic doctor will use special, modified techniques during your pregnancy to make your spinal adjustments easy and comfortable.
Choose chiropractic care
It’s easier to be fit, healthy, and experience a trouble-free pregnancy when your body freely sends the right messages. Chiropractic care focuses on the overall effects of spinal misalignment on the nerves that carry health-giving energy to every cell of the body. Chiropractic helps women get well and stay well – before, during, and after their pregnancies.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy can not only improve musculoskeletal alignment and relieve areas of muscle tension, but it can also influence the quality of your birth experience. Studies show that women who suffered from low back pain during previous labors and then received chiropractic care in subsequent pregnancies reported significantly reduced low back pain in the subsequent labors.
The uterus works best in a framework of ligaments and bones that are balanced and aligned. (This is true even for menstrual cycles.) This allows the baby to travel more easily through the birth passage, avoiding long, difficult labors and “failure to progress”, and reducing the incidence of cesarean section. Many women are advised incorrectly that they must put up with the low back pain, nausea and headaches of pregnancy. Through chiropractic care, however, women can experience relief from the so-called “normal” discomforts and enjoy a healthier pregnancy and birth.
Postural Changes in Pregnancy
During the course of pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes innumerable changes biochemically and structurally which can create postural strain and neck and back pain. A brief look at the anatomy of the spine provides insight as to why chiropractic adjustments can facilitate a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy. The vertebral column is a strong, flexible rod composed of a series of bones called vertebrae which enclose a protect the spinal cord, support the head, and serve as an attachment for the ribs and muscles of the back. This “spine” is able to rotate and move anteriorily (forward), posteriorily (backward) and laterally (side to side). The vertebral column shows four normal curves which increase it’s strength, help maintain balance in the upright position, absorb shock, and help protect the column from fracture.
The spinal cord, which courses down the center of this column conveys sensory impulses from the peripheral nerves to the brain and conducts impulse from the Central Nervous System, the brain, to all of the peripheral nerves. When an electrical impulse is stimulated in the brain, it travels a neural pathway in the spinal cord. Misalignment of this vertebral column can create pressure on the spinal nerves, irritating the surrounding tissue and causing impeded nerve flow, discomfort and/or pain.
Over the course of a forty week gestation, a mother’s weight gain will ideally reach somewhere between 30-40 lbs. This increase in weight can create spinal misalignment and/or postural distortions which in turn affect nerves, muscles and mobility of joints. As the bulk of this weight is deposited in the abdominal area, the mother’s center of gravity shifts forward. In order to compensate, the natural curves of the spine, particularly in the lumbar region, become exaggerated causing “low back pain”.
The hips may also expand laterally to help stabilize the body, putting pressure on the sacro-illiac joints. The hormones of pregnancy cause muscles, ligaments, cartilage (such as the symphisis pubis), and even bones to “soften” and become more pliable. Pelvic bones “slip” and can become more easily displaced and/or fixated. In addition, certain round ligaments attach to pelvis bones and then to the uterus as it enlarges with the growth of the baby. When these ligaments are strained or torqued, as with sudden movement or “rolling over”, they can cause even more discomfort for the pregnant mother.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
- Correct vertebral misalignment and relieve pressure with gentle and effective adjustments.
- Help ensure that pelvic bones are properly aligned, facilitating a quicker, easier delivery.
- Re-establish the natural position and mobility of the joints.
- Provide freedom from interference of normal nerve energy which is vital for the development of a healthy baby and mother.
Why do I need chiropractic care during pregnancy?
Many problems suffered during pregnancy may be directly related to the health of your spine. These may include backache, headaches, aching legs, sciatica, breathlessness, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.
96% of women have been shown to experience back pain during pregnancy. A woman’s back is particularly vulnerable during pregnancy because of the stress caused by carrying the weight of the unborn baby. Hormonal changes make the pelvis more supple during the latter stages of pregnancy. This may further increase the susceptibility of the spinal joints and supporting muscles and ligaments to sprains and strains at that time. Pregnancy therefore, may create new problems or exacerbate existing problems which were previously uncompensated for.
What is the role of the chiropractor in my pregnancy?
Chiropractic care helps during pregnancy by:
- correcting abnormal joint mechanics that lead to joint and nerve stress, thus reducing pain and improving function.
- maintaining joint function and spinal balance so the spine may adapt to the increased weight and altered posture.
- ensuring that the joints of the lower back and pelvis are moving freely to assist the birth process. Proper joint movement enhances pelvic opening.
- educating the expectant mother on correct posture, lifting and other lifestyle factors in order to reduce spinal stress.
- recommending exercises to assist spinal health.
Obstetrics is part of a chiropractor’s diagnostic education. Combined with extensive study into the locomotor system, your chiropractor is well educated to manage the various mechanical imbalances of the spine and pelvis that may develop due to the increased physical strain of pregnancy.
What sort of chiropractic care should I seek after the birth of my child?
The process of childbirth places great stress on the spine and pelvis, and their supporting muscles and ligaments. Joints muscles and ligaments are more supple from hormonal changes for some time after giving birth. This may increase susceptibility to injury. With the added strain on the back, neck, and shoulders during nursing, feeding and caring for an infant, it is easy to see why many women suffer after childbirth.
Chiropractors recommend that new mothers have their spine examined soon after giving birth. Periodic checkups may be recommended to prevent future problems. Not only is it important to care for your own health, but also that of your infant. Many problems of the newborn, such as colic and irritability, respond well to chiropractic care.
What are some tips for looking after myself and my baby during my pregnancy?
Correct posture involves tilting the pelvis backwards, tucking the buttocks under, holding the abdomen in as well as possible, lifting the chest and tucking in the chin slightly.
Exercise on a regular basis, performing non-impact aerobic and stretching exercises. Walking and swimming are good. Caution should be taken riding a bicycle beyond six months due to altered postural balance.
Avoid lifting, pushing or pulling heavy objects. Be careful carrying small children.
- Regular rest breaks and sleep
Lying on your back with knees bent and feet up in the early stages and in later stages on your side. A pillow between your knees or beneath your abdomen to support the weight of the baby may increase comfort in the hips or back.
Eat a wholesome varied range of foods. Smoking and drinking of alcohol should be avoided.
Should be kept to a minimum.
- Pre-natal classes
Should be attended with your partner. Learn all you can about the natural process that your body is going through, and how you can assist this process.
Is it difficult to receive an adjustment when pregnant?
Not at all. Chiropractors are trained in adjusting the spines of pregnant women and our chiropractic adjusting tables have special modifications for the pregnant figure.
How late in pregnancy is it possible to get an adjustment?
Patients have received adjustments even during labor.
What is the Webster Breech Technique?
The Webster Breech Technique is one the latest developments in chiropractic prenatal care. The technique is to correctly position breech presentations in which the baby isn’t positioned properly for birth.
Developed by the late Larry Webster D.C., of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, chiropractors are able to release stress on the pregnant woman’s pelvis and cause relaxation to the uterus so the baby will turn naturally. Called the Webster Breech technique, Dr Webster stated that it is “up to 94% successful in turning babies in utero so they can be delivered easily”.
Careful, Mom! Tips to Ease the Strain of Caring for a Baby
By the Colorado Chiropractic Association
Caring for a baby is rewarding – and hard work. Like other kinds of work that require lifting, bending, long periods of sitting, and repetitive motions, it can be harmful to your body. Try these simple tips to prevent problems before they begin.
- Put one foot on a box or low shelf when you stand and change diapers. This causes your pelvis to tilt in a way that decreases pelvic fatigue.
- Keep work surfaces at a comfortable height. Put something under the legs of the changing table, for instance, to raise it if you’re tall.
- Don’t try to hold the baby and wrestle the side of a crib down at the same time. Instead, drop the crib side before you pick up the child.
- Don’t bend from the waist when you lift the child. Squat with your back straight, keep the child close to you, and use your leg muscles to rise.
- Don’t bend over into the car when putting your child in the car seat. Sit sideways on the seat with the child on your lap, then rotate to face front and put the child in the seat.
- Make sure your feet touch the floor and your back is supported when you sit holding your child. Keep your knees at the same height as your hips or slightly higher.
- Adjust stroller handles so you’re not bending over when you push.
- When loading a stroller or groceries in the car trunk, rest one foot on the bumper and keep the load close to your body.