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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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..
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.
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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This blog is sponsored by Little Ninja & SPARTAFIT