Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be an uncomfortable time. At Sleigh Family Chiropractic, we understand the joy and anticipation you may be experiencing—along with the aches and pains that may make you feel miserable. You may feel like you have to suffer through pregnancy because you don’t want to take many common pain-relieving medications. We are here to tell you that we can help! Chiropractic care is very safe and effective throughout pregnancy. Our chiropractors are not only parents, they are all specially certified in pregnancy chiropractic through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.
Throughout pregnancy, the body is constantly changing. As your baby grows, weight gain increases the demand on the muscles and ligaments of your spine and pelvis, which alone can lead to a lot of discomfort. Pregnancy also causes your center of gravity to shift, forcing you to compensate with improper posture. The most common posture change is an increased curve in the lower back, which can put extra stress on the joints, leading to lower back pain. It can also create imbalances and tightness in muscles like the iliopsoas.
There are also higher levels of the hormone relaxin, which causes the muscles, connective tissue, and joints to loosen and stretch, allowing the baby to grow. But this can also lead to a higher likelihood of spinal joint misalignment, dysfunction, and pain. It is why pre-existing problems and old injuries commonly exacerbate during pregnancy. Also, everyday things you have always done, like holding other children, sitting at work, cleaning, and emptying the dishwasher, are more likely to create misalignments in the spinal joints as relaxin levels rise.
We recommend seeing a chiropractor as early in pregnancy as possible to address problems when they are easier to correct. Additionally, receiving chiropractic care early in pregnancy can set you up for a more comfortable, happier, healthier pregnancy.
Why Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Is So Vital
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How We Treat Pregnant Moms In Arlington Heights, IL
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
Before doing any sort of treatment in our office, we will first perform a comprehensive consultation and exam. We want to be sure that we know exactly what is happening in your body before recommending any treatment. You will meet with one of the doctors who will genuinely listen to your goals, concerns, and history. Then your doctor will recommend a thorough evaluation that may include: palpation of the spine, posture analysis, orthopedic tests, and computerized neurological scans, which are safe during pregnancy. Our goal is to uncover the root cause of your pain so that we can create customized recommendations for you. If your main goal is to have a healthy pregnancy, we will use the evaluation to see how your body is functioning. From there, our recommendations will focus on helping you have the best pregnancy possible.
Natural and Healthy Pregnancy at Sleigh Family Chiropractic
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Specific Prenatal Chiropractic Care in Arlington Heights, IL
At Sleigh Family Chiropractic, we understand all the changes your body goes through as your baby grows. Our chiropractors studied the effects of postural changes, joint laxity due to increased relaxin hormone levels, and the increased stress on your joints as your baby grows so they can provide safe and effective prenatal chiropractic care throughout your pregnancy.
During pregnancy, our chiropractors assess your spine and pelvis for misalignments, referred to as subluxations. These subluxations stress the nervous system, which can cause pain or dysfunction in the body. In addition, when the pelvis is not in the proper alignment, the position in which the baby is sitting may be affected.
Chiropractic care focuses on ensuring proper alignment of the joints, which reduces the stress on the nervous system and allows your body to function the best it can. Special techniques used during pregnancy can reduce pain and let the baby get into the best position for a smoother and quicker delivery.
The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic technique used during pregnancy. At Sleigh Family Chiropractic, all our doctors are certified in the Webster Technique to balance and align the pelvis, surrounding muscles, and ligaments. The pelvic bones and sacrum form the birth canal. Misalignment in the joints where these bones meet can lead to changes in the shape of the birth canal and imbalance in the ligaments that support the uterus. Ligament imbalance can lead to limited space and tilting of the womb, making it more difficult for the baby to move into the ideal position for delivery.
Rather than the baby settling into the ideal vertex (head down facing toward your spine) position, your baby may settle into these positions: transverse (crosswise), breech (buttocks or feet first), or posterior (facing “backward” toward your stomach). Using the Webster Technique to align the joints of the pelvis and balance the supporting ligaments, our chiropractors help your baby to have the optimal space to get into the best position for a smoother, quicker delivery with the least amount of intervention needed.
The Webster Technique for Breech Babies
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Custom Pregnancy Stretching Plan
In addition to ensuring that your joints are functioning as they should during pregnancy, it is also important that your muscles are functioning properly. The hormone relaxin also affects your muscles and can create weakness within the core and the muscles that support the pelvis. When there is weakness in certain muscles, it tends to create tightness in others. It is important to strengthen weak muscles and loosen tight muscles, allowing your body to function the best it can to provide you with the most optimal birth experience. Our chiropractors will recommend customized stretches and exercises for you to do at home to create stability and balance in the muscles that support your spine and pelvis.
3 Exercises Every Pregnant Mom Should Try
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Common Causes of Pregnancy Pain
Low Back Pain
Lower back pain during pregnancy is COMMON, but it is NOT NORMAL. One major cause of lower back pain during pregnancy is the shift in hormone levels. When pregnant, there are higher levels of the hormone relaxin, which loosens muscles and allows all of your joints to move a lot more. This means you are more prone to subluxations, misalignments in the spine, creating stress on the nervous system and leading to pain. When the muscles begin to loosen, they become weaker, which leads to instability and pain.
Changes that occur throughout your pregnancy can also cause lower back pain. Due to the added weight in the front of the belly, the pelvis shifts forward and downward, creating a greater curve in the lower back. This creates compression in the joints and nerves.
Chiropractic care focuses on aligning the pelvis and reducing subluxations within the spine, which takes pressure off the nerves, muscles, and joints in the lower back. We also provide specific exercises that will ensure optimal healing.
Headaches during pregnancy are very common. Approximately 39% of women experience pregnancy or postpartum headaches. These can arise from the increase in stress, both mentally and physically. During pregnancy, there are higher levels of the hormone relaxin which allows all of the joints to become more mobile. Pregnant women are more susceptible to misalignments within the spine, which can create compression on nerves that travel into the head, commonly causing headaches. Lifestyle habits can also cause pregnancy-related headaches, so being sure you are staying physically active, eating regularly, and getting enough sleep are essential in preventing headaches from arising.
Symphysis Pubis Disorder (SPD)
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (also known as Lightning Crotch) affects approximately 60% of women during pregnancy. SPD is a sharp pain at the front of the pelvis that can travel into the groin or upper thigh. The pubic symphysis is generally an immobile joint. However, as the hormone relaxin rises during pregnancy, this joint becomes more flexible and mobile. As the pelvis misaligns, this joint tends to misalign and create significant discomfort as well. Another contributing factor to Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction occurs when the inner thigh muscles, which connect to the front of the pelvis, become too tight, causing asymmetrical pulling of the pelvis.
Chiropractic adjustments will ensure the sacrum, pelvis, and pubic bone are properly aligned, reducing pain. We will also provide home therapies that will ensure the inner thigh muscles are loose while the glute muscles remain nice and strong, allowing your body to hold and maintain proper alignment of the pelvis.
Round Ligament Pain
The round ligaments connect the uterus to the front of the pelvis. These ligaments stretch as the uterus grows, which can cause achy to sharp pain just below and to the side of the belly button and, at times, into the pubic region. Many pregnant women feel round ligament discomfort when changing positions, coughing, sneezing, laughing, walking, or exercising. Approximately 10-30% of pregnant women experience round ligament pain, typically occurring during the first and second trimesters. Pain typically occurs from the baby’s rapid growth, although it can also arise when the pelvis is out of alignment. Because the round ligaments connect to the pelvis, there can be an asymmetrical pulling of the round ligaments when the pelvis is not aligned properly. This is why chiropractic adjustments are so beneficial. Our chiropractors at Sleigh Family Chiropractic ensure that the pelvis is properly aligned, allowing the uterus to sit in the best position, reducing round ligament pain.
The ideal position for your baby in your womb is called the vertex position, which means that the baby’s head is downward with its spine facing away from the mom’s spine. The breech position is when the baby is positioned feet or bottom down. A baby may remain in the breech position if the pelvis is out of alignment and not functioning as it should.
The uterus sits in the center of the pelvis, and round ligaments extend to connect it to the front of the pelvis. When the pelvis is out of alignment, it directly impacts how the uterus sits, possibly altering the baby’s position. Chiropractic care is a great way to achieve optimal baby position.
At Sleigh Family Chiropractic, we use the Webster Technique to restore alignment and balance in the pelvis and surrounding ligaments, allowing your baby to get into that ideal position for birth. There are times when the breech position is due to physiological circumstances, such as a short umbilical cord or the cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. In these cases, chiropractic care is still very safe because we do not put any pressure on the baby, but optimal positioning of your baby may not occur.
Urinary incontinence is COMMON during pregnancy and the postpartum period, but it is NOT NORMAL. It is actually a sign that the pelvic floor is not functioning correctly. During pregnancy, there is added pressure on the pelvic floor muscles from your growing baby. Many people believe that urinary incontinence comes from the pelvic floor muscles being too weak (which is sometimes the case), but more often than not, it arises from the lack of the brain-body connection. This means your body cannot determine when it needs to contract and when to relax the pelvic floor muscles, leading to urinary incontinence.
Chiropractic care will ensure proper alignment of the hips and the pelvis, reducing pressure on the nervous system and allowing your pelvic floor muscles to function the best they can. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, personalized home therapies will begin to re-establish that brain-body connection with the core and pelvic floor muscles overall, reducing and resolving urinary incontinence.
The sciatic nerve is one of the largest in the body, running from the buttocks down to the leg. Sciatica is a condition that results from compression of the sciatic nerve creating pain, numbness, or tingling that travels down the leg. During pregnancy, hormonal changes make you more likely to experience sciatica. With higher levels of the hormone relaxin, your joints are more mobile. This means they can move out of alignment more easily, which results in pressure on the nerves. In particular, when the joints of the lower back and pelvis are out of alignment, the resulting nerve pressure commonly causes sciatica. The added weight of the baby causes the pelvis to tilt down and forward, creating more compression on the joints and muscles in the lower spine and pelvis, compressing the sciatic nerve, and creating pain. Other times sciatica can arise from the baby’s positioning within the uterus. Chiropractic care is a very safe and effective form of treatment for sciatica. Our prenatal chiropractors focus on restoring alignment and motion into the spine and pelvis, taking pressure off the nerves, and allowing the baby to get into the best position. Thus, reducing pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is chiropractic safe during pregnancy?
Chiropractic is safe and extremely beneficial during and after pregnancy. All of the doctors here at Sleigh Family Chiropractic have received extensive training in specific techniques for treating women during their pregnancy, including being certified in the Webster Technique. This allows them to provide the safest and most effective forms of treatment for you.
When should you start seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy?
As soon as you are pregnant, your body begins to undergo major hormonal and physiological changes. For this reason, the sooner you receive chiropractic care, the sooner we can support your body as it undergoes all the changes that occur during pregnancy.
Can you go to the chiropractor in the first trimester?
You can and should see a chiropractor throughout the entire duration of your pregnancy. Chiropractic care can help reduce morning sickness and help your body adjust to the many physiological and hormonal changes occurring as soon as you become pregnant.
Is it normal to have lower back pain in early pregnancy?
It is very common to have lower back pain during early pregnancy, but it is not normal. In early pregnancy, your body is adjusting to the many changes, including an increase in the hormone Relaxin that allows the joints and muscles to loosen more. This can lead to more subluxations or joints within the spine that are not functioning as they should, creating lower back pain. Receiving chiropractic care earlier is always the best option to help support the body as it undergoes all the changes that occur with pregnancy starting in the first trimester.
How do you relieve pelvic pain during pregnancy?
Pelvic pain is a common complaint of many pregnant women, but it is not normal. Pelvic pain can occur when the pelvis is out of alignment and unable to function as it should. This can directly impact the position of the pubic bone, sacrum, and lower back bones. Chiropractic adjustments ensure proper motion into the joints of the lower back and proper alignment of the pelvis, taking pressure off the nerves and reducing pain.