Hello, everyone! This is Dr. Bob Salamon with Lowcountry Chiropractic. As always, I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy! In my last blog, we discussed the correlation between joint pain and the weather, particularly in those with conditions such as arthritis. We also discussed steps you can take to reduce weather-induced joint pain. Today, we’ll be talking about the benefits of prenatal chiropractic care. Pregnancy puts the body through drastic changes and puts strain on many parts of the body, including the lower back and hips. The good news is that chiropractic care can offer relief during and after pregnancy. Known as prenatal chiropractic care, this treatment has a wide range of benefits. All licensed chiropractors receive training related to pregnancy, but there are some that specialize in prenatal chiropractic care. I have and continue to work with many pregnant women, with great success!If you are interested in learning more about how chiropractic can help during and after pregnancy, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started!
It is estimated that between 50 and 80% of pregnant women will experience back pain. However, around 21% of women do not seek consultation with their medical providers because they believe the pain is expected during pregnancy. While some pain may be inevitable considering the drastic changes happening to the body during pregnancy, you do not have to suffer in silence. There are treatment options available, including natural, non-medicinal treatments such as chiropractic care. Chiropractors may use special tables with moving parts that avoid putting pressure on the growing belly. A pregnancy pillow may be provided for extra comfort.
During pregnancy, many hormonal and physical changes are present. This will have an impact on posture– As the baby grows, your center of gravity shifts and your posture will adjust accordingly. This can lead to a misaligned spine or joints. Visiting a chiropractor regularly during pregnancy can address these issues. Chiropractic care is designed to remove vertebral subluxations, which prevent you from being as healthy as you can be. Spinal adjustments remove these interferences and can restore your body to a pain-free state. Studies have shown that 75% of pregnant chiropractic patients reported pain relief. Correcting misalignments also allows your nervous system to function properly, which prepares the body for childbirth.
Regular chiropractic care during pregnancy can help control symptoms of nausea, relieve pain in the back, hip, neck, and joints, and help you maintain a more comfortable pregnancy overall. Chiropractic care can also reduce the amount of time you are in labor. In fact, studies have shown that first-time mothers who undergo routine prenatal chiropractic care have a 24% shorter labor time. Mothers who have delivered two or more babies and seek prenatal chiropractic care have a 39% shorter labor time. Research has also found that in women who underwent prenatal chiropractic care, there was a 50% reduction in the need for analgesics, or painkillers.
In some cases, pregnancy can cause sciatica due to the baby growing and increasing pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica pain comes in the form of shooting pains starting from the lower back and radiating down the legs. Since chiropractic care realigns the spine, it can take pressure off of the sciatic nerve and offer relief.
Adjustments can also re-establish balance and alignment to the pelvis. During pregnancy, the pelvis can become misaligned and can reduce the amount of room available for the growing and developing baby. This is known as intrauterine constraint, or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). It can lead to premature birth, low weight, or birth defects including asymmetrical proportions. Additionally, a misaligned pelvis can make it hard for the baby to move into the best position to be born, which is rear-facing and head down. This, in turn, can make it difficult for the mother to have a natural, non-invasive birth. The baby will be more likely to move into a breech or posterior position. A breech position is when the baby is positioned feet or bottom first in the uterus. Breech babies occur in approximately 3 to 4 percent of pregnancies and can increase the chances of the baby becoming stuck in the birth canal. A posterior position is when the baby is facing head down, but their face is positioned towards the mother’s stomach. Usually, a C-section is recommended in these situations.
Fortunately, some chiropractors are trained in Webster’s Breech Turning Technique, which is a technique that can be administered before the due date approaches, to rule out the necessity of a C-section. Developed in the 1980s by Dr. Larry Webster, a well-known chiropractor, this technique specifically focuses on the pelvis and sacrum, which is the bone located at the base of the spine. It also focuses on the muscles and ligaments in and around these areas. The technique addresses misalignments, or subluxations, to make more room in the pelvis. It is approximately 90% effective at turning breech births. It is a non-invasive and more gentle alternative to the external cephalic version, which is another technique that attempts to turn the fetus.
Patients may consider visiting a chiropractor who is trained in the Webster Breech Turning technique if they have a breech baby, have had a history of breech babies, or have other concerns with the pelvis during pregnancy. Along with correcting a breech position, this technique may ease leg pain, back pain, or birth canal issues, such as a narrow space.
Prenatal chiropractic care increases the odds of having a natural birth experience. If you are interested in prenatal chiropractic care, you don’t have to wait until you are in pain– You can begin treatment at any time during your pregnancy. Ideally, starting chiropractic care before pregnancy can have benefits. For example, seeing a chiropractor regularly before pregnancy ensures that your spine is free of subluxations prior to getting pregnant. This helps you start your pregnancy off on the right foot, per se– with a well-balanced pelvic floor. However, if you wait until you become pregnant, it is never too late to start seeing a chiropractor.
There are no medical risks in seeing a chiropractor for prenatal adjustments, as long as the chiropractor is certified and trained in prenatal care. It is also important to note that chiropractic care cannot prevent miscarriages or premature births. Oftentimes, those circumstances are due to genetics, hormonal imbalances, and other factors beyond the mother’s control.
After pregnancy, continuing to seek chiropractic care can help realign the spine and pelvis after birth. Pain and discomfort can linger long after giving birth. This persistent or new back pain is known as post-partum back pain. It can last up to 6 months after delivery but can continue for up to a decade. Some of the common symptoms women face after pregnancy are loosened ligaments, persistent back pain, shifts in balance, and a shift in weight distribution throughout the body. Chiropractors can address post-pregnancy pain through targeted pelvic and spinal exercises. This will not only relieve pain but can also help restore a healthy posture. Postpartum chiropractic care helps the body heal faster and more naturally. New mothers often find themselves in positions that may put strain on the lower back, such as breastfeeding, bending over a crib, and repeated picking up. A chiropractor can perform adjustments to relieve and reduce pain from these activities, as well as show patients techniques such as exercises or stretches that can help combat this.
Chiropractic care may also be beneficial in helping with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after pregnancy and can cause insomnia, loss of appetite, and irritability. Sometimes, psychological trauma can manifest in the form of physical symptoms. Spinal health can influence almost every part of your body because the spinal cord carries nerve signals throughout the body. These signals tell the brain to do certain things, so when there is an interference, body function can be impaired. Clearing subluxations improves nervous system function, which in turn can elevate your mood.
As you can see, pregnancy puts enormous strain on the body. Fortunately, chiropractic care can help relieve pain and discomfort during and after pregnancy, and can also be beneficial for your baby! Importantly, you do not need a referral to see a chiropractor for prenatal or postpartum care. I hope you found this article informative. If you think you or a loved one may benefit from any kind of chiropractic care, consider reaching out to Lowcountry Chiropractic. Send us an email or give us a call and we’ll assess the situation and develop a long-term treatment plan to address your needs. We want to help you live a pain-free life– It’s what you deserve. As always, this is Dr. Bob and I have your back covered!
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