Pregnancy is an amazing time, often full of ups and downs. Your body is constantly adapting to the new life within you. As baby grows, so does mom. While most women feel at least some discomfort during pregnancy, others report feeling amazing. The hormones associated with pregnancy like relaxin open and soften ligaments to fit a growing baby. If we all lived lives before getting pregnant with no injuries and stress, it’s safe to assume that all the softening necessary for growing and birthing a baby would happen naturally.
However, we live in a world where we’re stuck in cars, sitting in chairs, have chronic stress, don’t always eat the best foods and don’t move enough. This can mean that our bodies may have stuck bones, scar tissue, and a decrease in communication between brain and body that we didn’t even realize were present. For everything to open for pregnancy and birthing, we need to be able to adapt to the stressors that pregnancy gives us. Increased adaptation to our environment is the biggest goal of chiropractic care for all, especially during pregnancy.
The American Pregnancy Organization recommends chiropractic care during pregnancy for maintaining a healthier pregnancy, decreasing nausea, decreasing neck/low back pain, reducing the time of labor/delivery, and preventing C-sections. Let’s explore how chiropractic care can help pregnant mothers reach these goals.
Chiropractic care is rooted in decreasing nerve interference, and increasing the ability for the brain and body to communicate. By detecting a removing what we call subluxations (or spinal misalignments), chiropractors get the spine moving better and allow the body more ease. Chiropractic care is beneficial for pregnant mothers and any person that wants their body to be better connected. During pregnancy, it’s common to see more comfort, energy, less nausea, more activity, and less stress.
Decreasing Neck/Low Back Pain
It’s no surprise that chiropractic can help decrease low back pain, neck pain and headaches. Many people visit their chiropractor either to help fix pain or to prevent pain. Because pregnant mothers have hormones that change their ligaments and a big change in their center of gravity from increased weight, they need to be adjusted a bit differently.
The normal changes of pregnancy may set women up for increased injury to their neuromuscular system. These changes are still happening during the postpartum period as well. Low back and pelvic pain are very common. Care needs to be taken in gentler adjusting. As the pelvis and ribcage open to accommodate a growing baby, more gentle and specific approaches need to be used. A chiropractor trained in the Webster’s technique has learned how to best work with these changes.
Reducing Labor and Delivery Time
Research has found that first time mothers have a 25% decrease in laboring and multiparous moms have a 31% decrease in labor time with chiropractic care. The average labor time for a first time mom is 9 hours total. This could decrease labor by 2-3 hours. While that may not sound like a lot, ask any mother that had a long labor if they would have liked if baby arrived 2-3 hours sooner! Birthing can be an amazing experience, but they call it labor for a reason. It’s challenging! Pregnant mothers often report more comfortable births with less instrument assisted delivery.
Caesarian section reduction
While there are many reasons for caesarian deliveries, baby positioning, obstetrical interventions and less than optimal uterine contraction are among the causes. Many pregnant mothers present to chiropractic care when they have been told that baby has less than optimal positioning. While baby frequently flips and flops positions until 37 weeks of gestation, at 37 weeks they can be labeled in breech position. As there can be risks to delivering a baby in breech presentation (and many birth providers are no longer trained in delivering breech babies), this increases the risk of a C-section delivery. The Webster’s technique is a specific chiropractic technique that can be used by chiropractors to facilitate a mother’s pelvic positioning and nerve system function. This leads to decreased uterine torsion and more balanced muscles and ligaments. This can help promote a natural, low intervention labor. While sometimes C-sections are very necessary, the World Health Organization and many other organizations believe the C-section rate is unnecessarily too high. Florida has the highest C-section rate in America. There are task forces set out to decrease this rate, but seeking alternative care like chiropractic, acupuncture, and specific exercises (like those found on the Spinning Babies website) may be used to improve presentation and increase likelihood of natural delivery. Doula assistance is also associated with a decreased C-section rate. It’s important to have a great birth team behind every pregnant and birthing mother. Midwives are an amazing option for low risk pregnancies as well. Chiropractors and doulas are both vitalistic health advocates that support women throughout their journey into motherhood.
Chiropractic care is a great tool throughout life to be optimally healthy. It is helpful for infants through the most mature adults, and pregnancy is no exception! Because pregnancy and children are special populations with special needs, there are chiropractors trained specifically to see these populations. Perinatal and pediatric chiropractors have specific adjusting techniques and education to provide the best care for their patients.
Full Life Chiropractic has prenatal/pediatric and family chiropractors, as well as acupuncturists, massage therapists, and functional medicine doctors that specialize in fertility, perinatal, pediatric and care for the whole family. Learn more at FullLifeTampa.com and check our upcoming events for families, pregnant women, and new mothers, or call 813-428-5648 for more info.