When you’re pregnant, body changes seem to take place at lightning speed.
It’s not just about weight gain, but that will inevitably put additional stress on your pelvis, sacrum and joints in the lower back. Hormonal changes will make your ligaments more lax. A growing belly will shift your center of gravity, and your posture will change to accommodate it.
As a result, it’s not unusual for the pelvis, sacrum and lower back to become misaligned. When they do, you’re likely to experience pain through your hips, upper and lower back, and legs. You might have headaches.
If you don’t address these issues, you’ll probably have trouble sleeping. You can count on being grumpy.
Moms-to-be needn’t go through all that without being cared for. Regular chiropractic treatments during pregnancy — or prenatal chiropractic — has numerous benefits for you, your baby and everyone who has to live with you for nine months.
Trust us. Our nurturing care could make all the difference. One study in which medical doctors and chiropractors collaborated revealed that 75 percent of the participants receiving prenatal chiropractic care reported pain relief.
Chiropractic care, for anyone, involves keeping the spinal column aligned. An off-center spine has widespread effects throughout the body. It could result in respiratory or pulmonary issues. It could even impact the way certain organs function.
Chiropractic also addresses the nervous system, which is the body’s “command central,” so to speak. It is the system through which every part of your body communicates with every other part. When spinal issues interfere with nerves, communication breaks down. The body doesn’t function as it should.
Keeping the spine properly aligned helps your whole body, including your reproductive system, work better. Chiropractic care is beneficial at any time for males and females of all ages, but it’s especially helpful for women during pregnancy.
Your amazing body knows exactly what to do and what changes to make at each point of pregnancy. Unfortunately, those very things can knock your spine and joints out of alignment.
A protruding abdomen forces an increase in the curve of your back. Your pelvis plays many roles, including holding your body upright so that you can stand and walk. During pregnancy, it expands to support your growing child and eventually facilitate delivery. A protein hormone called relaxin is everything the name implies. It helps the pelvis (and all connective tissue) relax.
Your body will no doubt try to adapt as all these changes occur. For instance, your posture will shift, and you might become swaybacked. That could be uncomfortable or painful. Your normal gait will likely change to support the additional weight. Many women find themselves loose-limbed and uncharacteristically clumsy.
Here are the most common complaints about pain:
Lower back pain
This is due to added stress on the lumbar section of the spine as your center of gravity shifts. Your muscles will tighten to compensate, resulting in mild to significant pain. The degree of severity depends on your daily activity level. Lower back pain sometimes persists during the postpartum period.
Sciatic nerve pain
This is lower back pain that radiates downward through the backside and legs. It occurs when there is misalignment in the lumbar spine or pelvis, or tight piriformis muscles, which may experience abnormally high muscle tone during pregnancy, that compress or irritate the sciatic nerve.
As the pelvis relaxes, so does the symphysis pubis joint. The symphysis pubis does not normally move. However, increased levels of relaxin during pregnancy can lead to shifting in this joint. And when it is misaligned, it can be very painful.
Once again, laxity of the ligaments is to blame. The sacroiliac joints, which are normally stable for supporting weight, will move and shift relatively easily during pregnancy. Therefore things that normally didn’t cause you any problems may during pregnancy. We recommend focusing on standing evenly on both feet, avoiding holding older children on one hip (as much as possible), and sitting with even pressure on both sit bones.
Round ligament pain
These ligaments that support the uterus are stretched and overtaxed as the uterus expands. You might experience sharp pains on either side of your abdomen or near your pubic bones where the ligaments attach.
All of this is to be expected, but you needn’t suffer through it. That’s why we’re here.
Many patients have reported these benefits after seeing a chiropractor for pregnancy:
Research is ongoing, but some studies have suggested even greater benefits. Seeing a prenatal chiropractor might lower the risks of miscarriage or preterm delivery. Prenatal chiropractors and their patients are excited about those possibilities.
Many of the painful changes taking place in your body occur for three reasons: to make more room for the growing child, to encourage the fetus to move into the safest position for birth, and to expand the birth canal for a safe, easy delivery.
Misalignment in your pelvis can interfere with your baby’s movements in the womb. That’s known as intrauterine constraint, and it can result in complications during labor and delivery.
The ideal position for birth is rear facing with the head down. This is known as cephalic or vertex presentation. Intrauterine constraint might force the baby into one of these problematic positions:
Either could result in a longer, more complicated delivery.
The late Larry Webster, D.C., founded the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. He also developed a chiropractic adjustment that is specific to pregnant women. It’s designed to restore balance in the pelvis and alleviate stress on the uterus and supporting ligaments. Proper pelvic balance has been clinically proven to encourage optimal fetal positioning for birth. According to a study conducted in 2002, the Webster Technique, as it is now known, had an 82% success rate.
No treatment is without risk, but the Webster Technique overwhelmingly appears safe for expectant mothers. In preliminary results of an ICPA research project, none of the 274 women who had the Webster adjustments experienced adverse effects. Thirteen women reported slight soreness after the first adjustment, but all 13 said that subsequent adjustments were painless.
Both Drs. Quintin and Katie Sleigh are certified members of the ICPA. They have extensively studied prenatal chiropractic care and have years of experience with the Webster Technique. Your adjustments will increase the likelihood of a safe, natural, noninvasive birth.
There are even more advantages. Chiropractic care is a holistic approach. We don’t just treat isolated symptoms. We consider the whole person with the goal of maintaining overall health. That means we have sound advice on important aspects of a healthy pregnancy.
Nutrition is one example. Eating right will establish the building blocks for your baby’s growth. You will have additional energy requirements, and your decisions about how to meet them directly impact your child. There’s a myth, for instance, that pregnant women only crave the foods that their bodies need. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you can crave all the wrong foods whether you’re pregnant or not.
We also have lots of fitness guidance to offer. We can teach you some exercises and stretches for self-care at home. We’ll give you tips for better sleep and emotional well-being.
If we didn’t firmly believe that you might benefit from seeing a prenatal chiropractor, we wouldn’t be here.