Chiropractic care is a great, non-invasive way to promote general health and wellness, especially for pregnant women. During pregnancy, the body undergoes major changes to provide support for two thus it is common to expect such side effects as discomfort or back pain. As you will see, chiropractors can be very beneficial partners in health during (as well as pre and post) pregnancy as they relieve spinal nerve stress through adjusting misalignments in the body which ultimately could lead to less nausea, reduced back/neck/joint pain, optimized birth positioning, reduced labor and delivery time, and an overall healthier pregnancy.
Some women may have difficulty getting pregnant due to fertility issues. These may be due a variety of factors including (but not limited to) poor lifestyle habits, poor diet, stress, or impediments in the nervous system. Although many associate chiropractors with the musculoskeletal system, chiropractors are essentially nervous system specialists. By maintaining proper spinal alignment, interferences with the nervous system can be treated and prevented. With that said, chiropractic treatment can be a cost-effective option to increase chances of fertility (as opposed to in-vitro fertilization or IVF which can cost $10,000-$20,000 per attempt).
Once pregnant, women will experience an increase in hormones (progesterone, estrogen, and relaxin) and an average weight gain of 25-35 pounds. The former loosens pelvic ligaments in order to accommodate the baby and consequently decreases spinal stability. Compounded with the weight gain that increases stress on the joints and spinal disks, postural changes in the curvature of the spine occur that contribute to lower back pain and overall discomfort. Because of this, pregnant women are more prone to subluxations (spinal misalignment) and postural imbalances. A safe, effective way to treat this would be through chiropractic manipulation which allows the pregnant woman to avoid medications. In a collaborative chiropractic and medical study, 75% of pregnant patients who received chiropractic treatment experienced pain relief and 84% reported back pain relief.
Chiropractic care not only benefits the expectant mother but also the growing baby. Misalignments, especially in the pelvic area, can cause intrauterine constraint which restricts the space in which the baby can develop and makes it difficult for the baby to position itself for a natural delivery. With limited space to move, babies may find themselves in breech or posterior positions during labor and mother’s may be faced with dystocia (difficult labor) and a more invasive delivery such as a C-section. In order to target this potential problem of intrauterine constraint, chiropractors may use the Webster Technique (in the eighth month of pregnancy), an adjustment technique that was developed to establish balance, reduce stress, and restore function in a pregnant woman’s pelvis and joints to allow for optimal fetal positioning. A 2002 study published in The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported an 82% success rate in repositioning babies to the preferred rear-facing, head down position using the Webster Technique. With proper prenatal chiropractic care, invasive delivery procedures, both mechanical and surgical, can be avoided.
Studies have shown that women who received chiropractic care during their pregnancy have, on average, a 25-31% shorter labor time. Following labor and delivery, the body begins the process of restoring itself to the pre-pregnancy state. This time period is crucial to ensure proper rehabilitation. Before their loosened ligaments tighten again, new mothers should see a chiropractor in order to strengthen spinal and abdominal muscles while also addressing any joint problems to prevent chronic muscle tension, headaches, and bodily discomfort. Newborns should also be adjusted as soon after birth as possible. This can be done safely with a light touch to the baby’s cranium and spine, correcting any misalignments caused by birth trauma.
It has been found that pregnant women who receive chiropractic treatment experience substantial relief within the first couple treatments. Expectant and new mothers can rest assured that the pressure and force applied during chiropractic treatments are adjusted to be safe for both the mother and child. Also, chiropractors can help develop and monitor an appropriate exercise routine for pregnant patients. Women who exercise during pregnancy experience many benefits including more energy, more restful sleep, less weight gain, shorter and easier labors, and faster recovery. With so many advantages to receiving chiropractic care, it’s not hard to see why it is growing in popularity with women seeking non-invasive treatment during their pregnancy!
Have questions or interested in seeing a chiropractor? Give us a call at (408) 426-4936 at our Santa Clara office and we’ll be happy to help!