Pregnancy and Chiropractic
Pregnancy is one of the most joyful, happy times in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, the majority of pregnant moms-to-be in my office are suffering from low back pain, headaches and other discomforts. When you think about all the physical, emotional, hormonal and chemical changes pregnancy brings it’s no wonder why it may not the most comfortable time for a woman. When lower back pain enters the picture it can make her daily activities a difficult task and it sadly diminishes quality of life for future moms.
Why are Pregnant Women seeking out Chiropractic Care?
Over the years, Chiropractic care has shown to safely reduce pain and discomfort during pregnancy. Low back pain is one of the most common complaints I hear from my pregnant mothers. Some health care providers explain that select over the counter pain medications are safe during pregnancy; however, due to possible effects on the baby’s development I highly discourage the use of any counter pain medication during pregnancy.
What happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy?
As the abdomen continues to grow, her center of gravity shifts forward and she starts to waddle as she walks. This waddling and shift in the center of gravity causes stress to the muscles and joints in the lower spine and causes her pelvis to lock-up. This can affect her piriformis muscle and cause it to become tight and shortened which has been associated with sciatica during pregnancy. In addition, the supporting structures in the front, such as the round ligaments (which help hold up the uterus in place) also become tight. As the round ligaments become tight due an imbalance in her pelvis the uterus may develop constrictions (also called Intrauterine Constraint). This can leave the developing baby with limited room to shift into the head down position at the appropriate time. This may result in a Breech Presentation (In the breech presentation the baby enters the birth canal feet first as opposed to the normal head first presentation. Breech presents some hazards to the baby during the process of birth, and the mode of delivery is usually Caesarean Section.
How Does Chiropractic Help?
Chiropractors correct misalignments in the spine using safe and gentle chiropractic adjustments. A spinal adjustment puts the spine back into alignment and therefore relieves pain. The Webster Technique is a Chiropractic Technique that is specific for babies in the Breech presentation (25% of all pregnancies) and addresses the pelvis and the supporting ligaments in the front of the body. It creates balance in all the mother’s body structures (lower spine and pelvis as well as the round ligaments) and allows the baby to move into an ideal position for birth. There are recent studies reporting an 82% success rate in turning babies when chiropractors used Webster Technique. If left to chance, only 9 % of babies turn to the head down position by week 34 spontaneously. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002;25:E1-9)
Some More Good News!
Not only is Chiropractic a safe and gentle way to reduce low back pain during pregnancy, it can help make labor and delivery easier and faster. This is because pregnant mother’s that choose chiropractic throughout pregnancy have more balance and less stress in the spine. This is especially needed when labor and delivery finally take place. In my practice, Webster technique is utilized for every pregnant mother I see whether the baby is in a Breech presentation or not. Time and time again moms report less pain and discomfort during pregnancy and an easier labor and delivery. Who doesn’t want that!?
What does the Webster Technique actually do?
It’s important to note that unlike other common method for correcting Breech presentations, chiropractors trained in Webster Technique DO NOT directly move the baby; the technique only creates balance in the spine, muscles and supporting structures to allow the baby to move on its own to the correct position. It’s that easy!
Reasons to seek chiropractic care during pregnancy:
- To promote a more comfortable pregnancy, as well as an easier labor and delivery.
- Improved quality of life during pregnancy
- Relief of Lower back pain and Headaches
- If the baby is presenting in the Breech presentation
Whether you just found out you’re expecting or you’re counting down the last few days before your new born enters the world chiropractic makes a HUGH difference in women’s lives. Pregnancy is one of the most joyful and happy times and moms-to-be deserves to feel and live their best!