The Birthing Process and Chiropractic

The birthing process is a very complicated process that puts a lot of stress on both the mother and the baby. Because birth is so complicated, numerous things can go wrong. However, chiropractic is an amazing tool for any expecting mother, that has benefits for both mum and baby. Before, during, and after labor, and helps provide a safe and comfortable birthing process. Here is how chiropractic can help at all stages of the birthing process.

Before Labour

It is important to get checked by a chiropractor from the beginning of your pregnancy, as being under chiropractic care allows your pelvis to comfortably expand and change in order to give space for your baby to grow. If the baby has room to grow comfortably this will allow them to be in the best position possible for when it is time to give birth1. However, some babies can sometimes end up in the wrong position for birthing – known as breech position.

Breech Babies

Most babies in the breech position need some type of intervention, such a a Caesarean section, to help them be born safely. There is a pregnancy specific chiropractic technique, called Webster technique, that focuses on balancing the pelvis, including pelvic muscles and ligaments. This can help take pressure off the uterus, and can result in the baby repositioning itself into the ideal position for birth taking away the need for extra interventions2.

During Labour

Because chiropractic balances the joints of the pelvis and gets the nervous system working at its best, this usually results in faster and easier births. This is due to a few reasons. As mentioned above, chiropractic care allows the baby to be in the best possible position for birth, it also makes sure that the mother’s pelvis is ready for giving birth. Because chiropractic clears interference from the nervous system, this allows the brain to be able to better control the uterus and cervix, allowing the birth process to happen faster and more smoothly3.

Chiropractic care and reducing labour time

Estimates show that women under chiropractic care, have on average a 25-30% shorter labour time than those who are not under chiropractic care4. When the labour can run without complications due to the baby’s position, this decreases the need for extra medical interventions, allowing for a safer and more comfortable birth for both mother and baby. Chiropractic also has an impact on pelvis floor muscles, giving them a better ability to relax when the pelvic floor muscles are at rest. These muscles are very important in giving birth. When these muscles are working properly, it increases the chances of being able to have a safe, natural vaginal birth5.

After Labour

Chiropractic is important for the mother both before and after giving birth. Because it equips her body to be able to bounce back to normal as quickly as possible. If there was for some reason some type of trauma during the birth, chiropractic increases the body’s healing capabilities, allowing the mother to heal as fast and effectively as possible4.

Even a safe, fast birth can still cause a lot of trauma and stress on the newborn baby’s system. It’s important to check after birth so chiropractors can find any areas of stress caused by the birthing process. Then remove them using extremely gentle and safe techniques, specific for very young children. From the moment babies are born, their brain and body start growing and adapting. Chiropractic clears their nervous system from any stress that may have been caused by the birthing process, which allows them to grow and function at their very best.

References:

  1. American Pregnancy Association. (2019, October 31). Chiropractic care during pregnancy: Safety and benefits. https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/chiropractic-care-during-pregnancy/
  2. Spinning Babies. (2015, February 19). Professional help. https://spinningbabies.com/learn-more/techniques/professional-help/
  3. The WOMB. (n.d.). Chiropractic care. https://www.thewomb.ca/index.php/services/chiropractic-care
  4. Borggren, C. L. (2007). Pregnancy and chiropractic: A narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 6(2), 70-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcme.2007.04.004
  5. Haavik, H., Murphy, B. A., & Kruger, J. (2016). Effect of spinal manipulation on pelvic floor functional changes in pregnant and Nonpregnant women: A preliminary study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 39(5), 339-347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2016.04.004
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Prenatal Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy

Pregnancy is such a wonderful, exciting time! There are so many changes that happen – physically, emotionally, and hormonally.  It can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster ride. One of the best things we can do as expecting moms is to take care of our ever-changing bodies and spine structure with chiropractic techniques so that we can enjoy our pregnancy.  Paying attention to your spine during pregnancy will also set us up for a quick labor, delivery, and recovery. Prenatal chiropractic care is safe, gentle, and effective for you and baby.

It aims to restore proper movement, function, and alignment to the spine and pelvis.

Here are some of the common reasons you should seek out chiropractic care if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or a new mom.

  1. Weight Gain

A necessary, and often dreaded, part of pregnancy is the weight gain that accompanies it.

The increased weight gain will be everywhere, but obviously concentrated in the abdomen.

This increases pressure on the abdomen and on the joints and discs of the spine overall.

The tendency here is to pull the low back forward.

Prenatal chiropractic care relieves the extra tension in the joints and discs allowing you to better adapt and get used to your growing belly bump.

  1. Increased Curves In The Low Back

As mentioned above, the extra weight through the abdomen will pull the low back forward, and cause more grinding and compression through the joints of the low back.

This often will cause the classic low back pain experienced by pregnant mothers.

Interestingly, the rest of the spine will change its shape due to the increased curve in the low back.

The mid-back for example will increase its curve, and the neck will straighten out. This can lead to mid back pain, and neck discomfort as well.

  1. Changes in Walking Patterns and Pelvic Movements, how prenatal can help

We all have heard and seen the classic pregnant “waddle”.

This tends to be most noticeable in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, as baby descends into the pelvic inlet (sometimes called “engagement”)  but the spinal and mechanical changes start as the baby occupies more and more space in the uterus, around the 2nd trimester.

As baby grows, it will limit the ability of the sacrum, to freely rock back and forth.

What we typically see is the mom will gradually (and most noticeably) increase her base of stance (or distance between the feet) as she walks to compensate for this lack of rocking motion in the pelvis.

This is something we can identify quite easily and, through prenatal adjustments, gently encourage the normal motion of the sacrum.

  1. Round Ligament Pain

This is what tends to bring a lot of pregnant woman into our office.

In and around the second trimester, a ligament that attaches the uterus to the abdominal wall (the round ligament) tends to get spastic, and with that, getting in and out bed, turning in bed, and twisting can cause a sharp stinging pain along the side of the belly.

We train our chiropractors to relieve this spasticity and allow for proper tension and balance to return between the two ligaments.

One of the problems that can arise if this is not corrected is a difference in tension between the round ligaments on either side of the uterus.

This is one of the many ways intrauterine constraint develops which can reduce the space for baby to grow.

Keeping balance between these 2 ligaments is good for mom (pain relief!) and good for baby (more room in the womb)

  1. Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction / Pubic Bone Pain

Towards the end of pregnancy, as your body begins to prepare for labor, the pubic bone will start to separate (to allow the passage of the baby through the pelvic inlet).

However, if you have not been under prenatal chiropractic care, and there is abnormal pelvic mechanics, what can happen is the pubic bone will separate unevenly.

This often causes excruciating pain getting in and out of bed, cars, chairs, and walking.

It also can potentially interfere with the baby passing through the area.

Complications that can arise include baby’s shoulder getting stuck (called shoulder dystocia), which can slow down labour, and lead to unwanted interventions.

Allowing the pubic bone to separate evenly, and having it monitored in the third trimester is one of the easiest ways to avoid the pain and discomfort while pregnant, and reduce dystocia during labour..

  1. Decreased Labour And Delivery Time

Getting adjusted, keeping the spine and sacrum aligned, flexible and moving ahead of labour is a great idea.

Research has shown that moms under chiropractic have decreased labour times, and decreased interventions required during delivery. [The effects of chiropractic treatment on pregnancy and labor: a comprehensive study. Fallon J. Proceedings of the world chiropractic congress. 1991; 24-31]

Most moms for this reason alone will choose chiropractic care.

Giving birth is like a marathon!

Prenatal chiropractic care is the training and fine tuning before the big event.

  1. Postpartum Recovery from pregnancy 

As you heal after delivery, this is a wonderful time to work on your spinal alignment.

With continued elevated circulating levels of relaxin following pregnancy, you are more “malleable”. We can also work on your alignment as you come back together.

Working on core strength, pelvic floor strength, and of course the new mechanical challenges of breastfeeding while you are healing will help your transition to motherhood as pain free and seamless as possible.

Want To Get Started On Having A Pain-Free, Enjoyable Pregnancy And Labour?

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 2 How?

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: How? Take an audit.

Whenever we want to set ourselves a new goal we have to know where we are starting. This allows us to look back in 6 and 12 months time and celebrate how far we have come. It’s hard work being a parent and it’s harder again to a parent who’s committed to healthy habits and rituals. So, it’s important to take stock and appreciate your efforts.

So let’s begin how to audit.

Q: How Much Sugar Do You Each Consume Daily

Without realizing it, most adults and children eat refined sugar for breakfast, lunch and dinner via processed cereals and grains. Most of us consume an average of 53 kg of sugar each year (approximately
29 teaspoons of added and natural sugar each day), and 75 percent comes from the packaged and convenience products we eat and drink.

I’d encourage you to investigate the health risks associated with eating too many sugars (in Lunchbox Solutions I discuss the dangers of sugars and outline what are healthier ways to sweeten recipes, so that’s a great place to start).

There are several reasons should we should avoid sugars, including that they raise our insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone
that our pancreas produces and its main function is taking up blood glucose (sugar) into the cells for energy. High insulin levels are thought to contribute to multiple health issues but for this post where we are focused on raising the health status of our children — let’s keep to three main issues.

Key issues with sugar

1 High insulin levels can depress the immune system weakening our ability to fight disease. This occurs because white blood cells need stacks of vitamin C to kill bacteria and viruses. So our white blood cells work to accumulate
and store vitamin C within the cell. The problem is that vitamin C and glucose have similar chemical structures so they then compete to enter the white blood cells. Guess what happens when we have lots of glucose in our blood from eating lots of foods that contain processed sugars? Glucose wins and our white blood cells become deficient in vitamin C compromising our ability to fight bugs.

2 Too many sugars also upset the integral balance of good and harmful bacteria in the gut. When we consume too many sugars we can create an overgrowth of harmful yeasts and bad bacteria which override our helpful “disease fighting” helpful bacteria — hindering our immune system.

3 Refined sugars also provide us with no vitamins or minerals. In order for them to be metabolized, they draw on the body’s reserves of vitamins and minerals, depleting our body’s nutrients.

ACTION: Start a food diary and observe just how much sugar find there way into your daily diet. Here’s a tip for when looking at products and packaging — sugars tend to be any ingredient ending in “ose” — sucrose, fructose, dextrose, lactose etc. Try it — it will shock you!

Drastically reducing sugar (initially this is not an easy task) not only lightens the load on your child’s immune system it also allows your children to get off the ‘blood-sugar rollercoaster’.

Here’s another tip — cutting back sugar … life just gets better. Sugar highs and lows, make us all irritable and grumpy.

Audit Cont.

Q: How many processed foods are in your pantry, fridge and child’s lunch box?
-Literally count the number of packaged items and take an audit. If a food item has more then 5 or 6 ingredients you can bet it’s refined, altered and damaged. If you can’t pronounce the names of the ingredients in the food item, mostly likely it’s full of chemicals. I’d encourage you to become a food critic and learn what all those numbers and complex sounding ingredients really mean. Please see “Become a Food Critic” and the “Poor Choice, Better Choice and Fabulous Choice” Table in “Empower Their Choices” in Lunchbox Solutions.

Q: How many pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables are you all currently consuming each day?

-Daily consistency is key here.

Q: How many glasses of water do you drink?

Q: What sort of water do you drink?
-And I don’t mean the wet kind. One of the simplest and most important things you can do is invest in a water filter to protect your family against chemically-treated water. Most of our drinking water today contains chlorine and chlorination by-products, as well as numerous other contaminants. Drinking good quality water via a high quality filter system — promotes detoxification, enhances nutritional uptake and ensures optimal hydration.

Help your children develop the habit of drinking water throughout the day rather than juices and soft drinks. A mere two per cent drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Many children are frequently dehydrated, suffering with concentration issues, constipation and digestive problems.

Q: How many prescriptions has your child had in the last twelve months and over their lifetime?
-With regular chiropractic care and addressing these other tips for raising healthy children, many parents delight in no longer relying on antibiotics and instead being able to rely on their child’s own immune strength.

Q: How many sessions of sweaty exercise would each family member perform each week?
-Ideally each of us should be raising our heart rate 5 times a week.

Q: How many harmful chemicals are in your personal care and cleaning products?
-Source brands that are genuinely wholesome — free of nasty chemicals and toxins which are readily absorbed through the skin and tax our body and its defence system.

It can be a “reality slap” to take an audit and look at where you currently sit along the “healthy” and “not so healthy” scale. Where you sit on the “fresh” and “disastrously preserved” scale. Remember though that every moment we make choices and have the opportunity and capacity to influence both our child’s — short and long-term health.

 

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How To Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscle

You may have heard about pelvic floor muscles in the context of pregnancy so you might assume that they’re only of interest to pregnant individuals. Although pregnant women benefit immensely from pelvic floor strengthening they’re a concern for everyone. Why? Because everyone has pelvic floor muscles!

Pelvic floor muscles are layers of muscles that stretch from your tailbone to your pubic bone. When you lose normal control of these muscles it’s known as pelvic floor dysfunction. This can result in incontinence (lack of urination control) and pelvic pain.

Here are a couple of anatomy diagrams for you visualize these hidden muscles:

    1. Female Pelvic Floor Muscles

    2. Male Pelvic Floor Muscles

You may be wondering what the big deal is. These are not like your triceps muscles that you can flash and impress others with… no. They’re more functional than that. The reason you want to get into the habit of strengthening these mystery muscles is because as you age the likelihood that you experience incontinence whether it be from a coughing or exercising increases.

For pregnant women in particular, the risk of getting pelvic pain, which is common during pregnancy, decreases when strengthening your pelvic floor muscles regularly.  It also helps support your body with the increasing weight of the baby.

So how do you work them out? Well we’ve got 2 exercises for you that vary from normal to advanced.

Important note: do NOT hold your breath during these exercises. Breathe nice and slowly.

KEGEL (normal):

  1. Tighten the muscles you’d use to stop urinating midstream.
  2. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Relax the muscles.
  4. Repeat 15 times.

SUPER KEGEL (advanced):

  1. Stretch your spine to the ceiling.
  2. Squeeze the muscles that you’d use to stop a bowel movement.
  3. Inhale and maintain the squeezing of those muscles.
  4. Exhale and maintain the squeezing.
  5. Squeeze the muscles you’d use to stop urinating midstream. Your entire pelvic floor should be contracting now. BREATHE.
  6. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  7. Relax the muscles.
  8. Repeat 10 times.

It’s recommended that you perform this 2-3 times a day.

What’s really handy about these exercises is that you can perform these exercises anywhere as it’s all happening internally. So next time you’re bored or stuck in traffic, work your pelvic floor muscles and future you will thank you!

 

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Exercises for Pregnancy

Giving birth takes an incredible amount of physical effort… so be prepared! We’re going to share some exercises for all you mothers to be that won’t only help with your pregnancy, but also give you more energy, better sleep, less back pain and overall a much more pleasant pregnancy experience.

It’s best to consult with your GP or Structural Chiropractor about whether these exercises would be appropriate for your individual situation. Please discontinue any exercise if you begin to have any unusual vaginal discharge, dizziness or chest/abdominal pain.

It’s a good idea to build up slowly if you were not regularly exercising before your pregnancy. Listen to your body and ensure that you’re fuelling your body with more nutrients, water and plenty of rest.

High intensity exercise is NOT recommended, as it is associated with distressing the foetus. Aim for 15-20 minutes of moderate intensity or 45 minutes of low intensity exercise at a time. Walking, aqua aerobics, Pilates and yoga are all wonderful exercise options to take up when pregnant.

Here are 3 basic exercises for you to try at home:

  1. Cat-Camel
    • On all fours, arch your back up to the ceiling then relax to a flat back position.
    • Breathe through the movement.
      Image result for cat/camel pregnancy
  2. Glute Bridge
    • On your back with your knees bent, lift your buttock off the floor as high as your comfortably can
    • Hold for 5 seconds then gently lower it down
      Image result for glute bridge pregnancy
  3. Bird-Dog
    • On all fours slowly lift and straighten one leg.
    • Lower it slowly.
    • Then raise the other leg.
    • Repeat 10 times. If you’re feeling strong, raise the opposite arm at the same time.Image result for bird dog pregnancy

Give these a try and prosper from an amazing pregnancy! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail us. Information can be found on our website: https://revolutionchiro.co.nz

 

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Eating During Pregnancy

What you eat during your 9 months of pregnancy matters. The food you consume affects you and your baby, so always mind that you’re eating for two! Pregnancy means that you’re building life, so make sure that you supply all the necessary building blocks.

 

How much should you eat?

Since you’re eating for two, you’ll need extra calories and nutrients as your body builds your baby’s bones, tissues and organs. And just because your waist disappears, it doesn’t give you the all clear to load up on ice cream and sweet treats! Eating 3 regular meals a day? Then add 2 healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts or veggies to meet your higher caloric needs.

  • If you exercise regularly: add 500 calories.
  • If you don’t: add 300 calories.

How much weight should you gain?

You need to gain the appropriate amount of weight so that your baby can too.  If you come up short, then so will your baby. You’re in this together.

  • If you’re underweight: your goal should be to gain 15-20 kg.
  • Normal weight: aim to gain 10-15 kg.
  • Overweight: aim to gain 6-12 kg.
  • If your height is 157 cm or shorter: aim to gain 6-12 kg.

What should you eat?

Protein

  • Eat 2.2 g of protein per kg of your body weight (ex. if you weigh 70 kg aim to consume 154 g of protein).

Omega-3

  • You can get this from walnuts, chia seeds, linseed (flaxseed), hemp seed, seaweed, algae or fish oil supplement or avocado.

Vitamin D

  • Get 20-30 minutes of sun exposure 2-3 days a week.

Zinc

  • This can be from legumes (such as beans and lentils) or dark and leafy veggies.

Calcium

  • Many things can provide calcium such as dark and leafy veggies, legumes, bokchoy, tofu, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin B-12

  • You can get this from a high quality Vitamin B-12 supplement or fortified foods such as tofu, soy milk etc.

Iron

  • Get this from seeds, whole grains, nuts, dried fruits or dark and leafy veggies.

 

What should you minimize?

Caffeine

  • Aim for less than 300 mg per day.

Cured lunch meats

  • This can include ham, hot-dogs and the like.

Artificial sweeteners

  • These should be avoided as much as possible during pregnancy.

High sugar intake

  • Do NOT use cravings to justify poor choices.

 

What should you avoid completely?

The Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand has a list of types of fish that should be avoided by women who are pregnant due to higher mercury levels.

  • Cardinalfish
  • Dogfish (excluding rig)
  • Lake Rotomahana trout
  • Lake trout from geothermal regions
  • School shark (greyboy, tope)
  • Marlin (striped)
  • Southern bluefin tuna
  • Swordfish

Tobacco

  • It increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) so it’s best to .steer clear.

Soft cheeses

  • This includes mold-ripened, blue veined, and unpasteurized cheeses.

Raw or undercooked animal foods

  • This includes meat, seafood (ex. SUSHI), and eggs.

 

What supplements should I take?

Your GP may prescribe prenatal vitamins and if not, it’s a good idea for you to seek some out yourself. Make sure the following is included:

  • Vitamin B-12 (3 ug/day)
  • Folic acid (400 ug/day)
  • Vitamin D (1000 IU/day) especially if you lack sun exposure

 

By following these guidelines, eating right and monitoring your weight, you’ll know that you’ve done everything in your control to lead up to a successful pregnancy.

 

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Low Back Pain and Pregnancy

Just when you think being pregnant is enough to deal with, nature has to throw in the curve-ball of a higher risk of low back pain. Not only that, but statistically, it’s said to start early on in pregnancy and increase over time. This can put a lot of stress not only on the mother, but everyone around her as well. So what causes it? How does it affect your baby’s development? And what can you do about it?

 

Cause

 

Low back pain on it’s own is a complicated condition. Muscles, ligaments, discs, and tendons are all potential culprits, but sometimes even your brain itself perceives dysfunctional patterns and sends pain signals as a response.

As the baby grows, the lower back will gradually start to increase its curve as the pelvis tilts. The shoulders move back to compensate for the shift in the centre of gravity. Finally, the head takes on a more forward position, a condition called Anterior Head Syndrome. All this happens as the body releases a special hormone to relax the ligaments in the pelvic area to allow for easier birth and movement of the structures as the uterus enlarges.

All of these shifts and changes increase stress and strain on the low back, so it’s no surprise that low back pain is expected during pregnancy.

 

Baby Development

 

The low back pain itself is not the concern when it comes to the baby’s development. However, it does throw a wrench in the works when you’re trying to maintain an optimal, healthy environment for your baby. It can make it hard to stay on track with movement and exercise, get high quality sleep, prepare healthy meals (to avoid eating out and consuming processed, innutritious food), and manage stress levels.

 

Solutions

 

  1. Walking: 30 minutes a day should do, just to get some motion in the pelvis and avoid uninterrupted sitting.
  2. Foam Rolling: working on the fascia and muscles will help your soft tissue adapt to all the structural changes that your body is going under.
  3. Strength Training: developing strength, especially within your core stabilizing muscles, can help immensely with low back pain and overall health.
  4. Structural Chiropractic: a structural chiropractor can act as valuable asset in the health care team of any pregnant woman. They can keep the body functioning optimally as well as address conditions such as Anterior Head Syndrome and low back pain. We usually find pregnant women to have the speediest recovery at our office.

If you’ve got a baby on the way, try these out and benefit from a better and more comfortable pregnancy. If you have any questions about pregnancy, low back pain or other health concerns, feel free to bring them up with your Structural Chiropractor.

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5 safe yoga poses for pregnancy!

This article will cover five of the most common yoga poses that those in pregnancy can try today. Let’s begin!

 

Tailor’s Pose

This position will have you sitting on the ground, which is great for opening up the pelvic area. Find some pillows, blankets, or other things to provide a little bit of comfort as you do this pose.

  • Find a wall and sit against it.
  • Keep your toes pointed up and together.
  • Press your knees down and away from each other.
  • Hold the position for as long as you feel comfortable.
  • Gently try to stretch the legs and pelvis in this position. If something starts to hurt, stop immediately.Tailor's pose

 

Side-Lying Position

A great resting pose if you’ve had a long day or are feeling stressed. This pose will place you on the ground. It is a great pose to do some breathing exercises.

  • Find a clear spot on the ground to lie down.
  • Gently place yourself on your side. Rest your head on your arm or a pillow.
  • Support your legs with a pillow if necessary.
  • Rest in this position for as long as you want.Side-lying position

 

Standing Warrior

This pose is recommended for the second trimester of pregnancy. It may be a little more strenuous, so take it slow.

  • Stand up on a mat or blanket.
  • Place one foot forward and raise your hands above your head.
  • Keep your arms straight.
  • Stretch yourself forward while reaching towards the ceiling.
  • Hold the pose so you can feel your muscles stretch. You don’t have to hold it for very long, so release when you are ready.

Standing Warrior pose

 

Squats

As a pregnancy develops, it’s important to keep your pelvis and upper legs healthy. A good squat pose can be useful in making your lower half strong while you gain weight.

  • Stand on a mat or blanket with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Gently squat down.
  • Hold your arms out in front of you for balance.
  • Squat down as much as you can.
  • Hold the position once you’ve reached your limit and then back off. As your pregnancy progresses, you can support yourself with pillows or soft furniture.

A squat position

 

Cat pose

This final position combines a bit of stretching with breath control. Make sure you have a soft surface like a mat or blanket to do this on.

  • Place yourself on your hands and knees.
  • Gently arch your back forward towards the ground. Breath out as you do.
  • Bring your back to the neutral position once more. Breath in.
  • Repeat this pose a few times while breathing in and out. This should help with stress.

A cat pose

 

Make sure to listen to your body as you do any of these poses. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, stop. All of these positions should feel relaxing and natural.

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