For many years chiropractic care has been the “go to” choice for women searching for natural means to manage the health-related preparations for motherhood. From preconception to pregnancy, to labor and delivery and through post-pregnancy recovery women have experienced the many benefits of chiropractic care. Unfortunately, some women do not discover these benefits until after the fact.
The potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:
Relief of back, neck and joint pain without medications
Reduce the need for pain medications during pregnancy
Improved adaptation to all of the changes occurring in the body
Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
Reducing the time of labor and delivery
Reducing the likelihood of a C-section
One of the most beneficial times for chiropractic care is during pregnancy.
Chiropractic Before Pregnancy
Chiropractic care before pregnancy can set the stage for a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy experience. Chiropractic care can help promote a more regular menstrual cycle, as well as optimize uterine function. Many couples who thought they were infertile are helped after receiving chiropractic care, which can help to improve proper nerve supply to the reproductive organs.
Did you know that another cause of infertility may be in the medicine cabinet? Recent research has demonstrated that common over-the-counter and prescription pain medications can cause infertility. Women can often ditch these pain medications by using chiropractic care to address the underlying cause of their pain. This type of infertility is reversible after stopping these pain medications.
The Importance of Pelvic Alignment During Pregnancy
The many changes, physiologically and hormonally, that take place over a short amount of time can result in misalignment of the spine or joints. As a baby grows during pregnancy, the mother’s center of gravity changes, resulting in postural compensations. There are hormones secreted during pregnancy that cause the ligaments (that hold your bones together) to relax and lengthen. This can result in increased spinal and joint instability leading to misalignment. This misalignment can cause low back pain, sciatica, neck pain, joint pain and headaches. Although these aches and pains can be burdensome, misalignment can result in more significant problems, especially in the pelvis.
There are ligaments in the pelvis that support the uterus. If the pelvis is misaligned, these ligaments may create asymmetry in the uterus. As the baby grows, there is increased risk for intrauterine constraint, which reduces the available room for the baby to grow. As the mother and baby prepare for birth, this asymmetrical support around the uterus could adversely affect the position of the baby, leading to a breech presentation. Optimal position for the baby during birth is head down and rear-facing. Compromised position of the baby prior to delivery can lead to a lengthier, more complicated birth that may require more invasive obstetrical procedures, including a C-section. The more obstetric interventions that are necessary increase the risk of adverse events for both the mother and baby.
Labor and Delivery—Can We Speed This Up?
Research has shown that women receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy have decreased labor and delivery times, as well as a more comfortable labor and delivery. Proper pelvic alignment optimizes the bone component of the birth canal, making delivery more efficient. One study demonstrated women receiving chiropractic care during their first pregnancy had a 24 percent decrease in labor times, while women who had previous births experienced a 39 percent reduction in labor times. Another study showed that women under chiropractic care during their pregnancy had a 50 percent decrease in the need for pain medications during labor and delivery.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe During Pregnancy?
There are no known contraindications for chiropractic care during pregnancy. Chiropractic adjustments are safe throughout all stages of pregnancy. Many chiropractic tables are designed to accommodate women throughout their third trimester. There are pelvic sections that drop out, allowing the mother to lay comfortably in any position.
Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy.