By Dr. Rion Zimmerman, D.C.~
During pregnancy a woman’s body goes through many changes in order to grow a baby and prepare for birth.
These natural changes may result in misalignments such as:
• Increased back curve due to weight distribution in the belly
• Changes in pelvic orientation
• Postural changes
Due to these changes, chiropractic care is an essential part of pregnancy care.
How Chiropractic Care Helps
Chiropractors look more at the body as a whole and are concerned with getting to the root cause of pain and dysfunction instead of just treating or masking symptoms.
It is important to see a chiropractor who is certified in the Webster Technique, an adjustment that helps with pelvic alignment.
Here are a few ways that chiropractic care during pregnancy can benefit the mother and the baby.
Relief of Aches and Pains
Chiropractors treat subluxation, which is “the result of spinal bones with improper motion or position affecting nerve communications between your brain and your body,” according to the International Chiropractors Association.
When proper nerve communication is disrupted it can result in pain and poor function in the neck, back and organs, as well as illness. Our nervous system runs through our entire body so when something is misaligned in one place it can easily affect other parts of our body.
Subluxation can be caused by physical trauma, toxins in our food, body products or environment and thoughts like stress, anger, depression and anxiety. These thoughts can manifest as tight muscles, pain, poor posture and other conditions as our body goes into a fight or flight response.
Getting a chiropractic adjustment when you are not pregnant is a great way to relieve discomfort, align the spine and treat and prevent various problems. So getting adjusted when you are pregnant is even more important because the mother’s body is going through so many changes and the health of the mother is so connected to the health of the baby. A chiropractor can also offer helpful stretches like these 5 exercises to relieve back pain during pregnancy.
Better Birthing Position
The baby’s position can be just as important as the mother’s, says this article in Pathways to Family Wellness, a publication by The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). Yet sometimes all the education, preparation and exercise in the world will not ensure a properly positioned baby if the mother is not receiving good chiropractic care.
In the event of a misaligned pelvis, the baby’s natural environment is restricted during development. It can also contribute to a non-optimal position for delivery. A baby in the breech position can prevent a non-invasive, natural birth, possibly leading to a c-section or the use of drugs that the mother may not want.
A labor that stops and starts or just won’t get going can be caused by a subluxated mother and a baby that can’t get into an optimal position because of it. Chiropractic can help labor to simply proceed normally.
Helps Special Situations
For women with unique situations such as malpositioned babies or previous cesarean section, chiropractic can mean the difference between a vaginal and a surgical birth. Some dedicated chiropractors give their patients the option of receiving a chiropractic adjustment while they are in labor. This is something that many teachers encourage their students to look for in a chiropractor because it can be so beneficial.
A pregnant woman who is in excruciating pain or overwhelmed with fears regarding her body’s ability to function is not just experiencing physical symptoms; she is experiencing emotional stress as well, says the ICPA. When chiropractic care eases physical pain this can also lead to emotional relief and have a deep and lasting impact on the emotional health of the woman.
If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, meeting with a Webster-certified chiropractor to discuss care is a great part of a healthy pregnancy plan.