Pain, it’s one of the most common complaints during pregnancy, but it doesn’t have to be a rite of passage. Pain is also the most common reason for anyone to see a chiropractor, and for good reason. We’re really good at helping people with their pain. Having the joints of the spine and pelvis properly aligned definitely helps one feel better, and when we feel better, we can be more active and do things like exercise, play with our other kids, and do all the things moms do, which is a lot! But there are actually better reasons to utilize chiropractic care during pregnancy.
Better Over All Health
What many people don’t realize is that chiropractic improves your overall well-being. Because your spine surrounds and protects your nervous system, the two are so intimately connected that we cannot talk about them separately. When your spine and pelvis are better aligned, it allows your nervous system to function better. When your nervous system works better, your entire body works better. It’s that simple, and it’s why people under chiropractic care notice improvements in how often they get sick, or for how long, improvement in their allergies or digestive upsets, and even regulation of menstrual cycles and fertility. For that reason, all women should add a prenatal chiropractor to their birth team.
Better manage daily stress
This is HUGE. Every day we are bombarded with stress. Being pregnant only adds to the worry we normally carry. What many moms don’t realize is that our babies are not protected/separated from all the hormones that we release to help us rise to the challenge of our stress. Those hormones that cause us to have a one track mind, feelings of anxiety, restlessness, increased heart rate and more…they have that affect on baby too. A baby who develops literally marinating in stress hormones is neurologically primed for a life of stress, where he needs to be ready for either fight or flight.
But the good news is that chiropractic adjustments help us better manage stress. They ease and calm our nervous system, so that we don’t so easily spin into a frenzy over things that shouldn’t be such a worry to us. This allows us to be more present in the moment and connect with our loved ones, including the little one growing inside us.
Better, faster labor.
A common challenge in birth is dystocia, or cause for birth to slow down and stop progressing. There are 3 contributors to dystocia and chiropractic helps all 3
1.Power – The power a woman demonstrates in labor is something that leaves me awestruck. This power first grows a human from 2 cells, then births that tiny human, and then produces nourishment specifically tailored for him. Wow. However, when a mother’s spine and pelvis is out of alignment, or when she’s under extreme emotional stress, her body reads that as a dangerous situation, and will slow or stop birth so that the baby isn’t brought into an unsafe environment. Which is so amazingly intelligent! But a mother whose spine and nervous system has been balanced will better assess the safety of the environment and will shift that power to facilitate the birth process rather than inhibit.
2. Passage – When the pelvis is out of alignment, it doesn’t move as well, which means it can’t as easily open up to allow the baby through the birth canal. A pelvis that is well balanced through chiropractic care, allows for baby to move through more easily.
3. Passenger – Tension on the uterus happens when a pelvis is out of alignment so that it’s more difficult for baby to move into his preferred birthing position, which is usually head down. You can think about this like your partner laying on the bedsheets making it more difficult for you to roll over. Chiropractic adjustments that align the bony structures and balance the soft tissues of the pelvis, help a mother’s body create the space baby needs to grow, develop and exit.
A simple chiropractic adjustment helps with all three causes of dystocia and therefore is going to help those who desire a vaginal birth better achieve that goal, and likely with less pain intervention needed. In fact, women who receive chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have been shown to have a 25% shorter labor time on their first birth, and a 40% shorter labor time on their second and subsequent births.
There is a special certification for prenatal chiropractic care.
Through chiropractic school, all chiropractors take a course on care during pregnancy. We learn about the benefits and the contraindications to care and what not to do. But to comprehensively learn what to do requires post graduate work with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association learning what’s called the Webster technique. My own experiences in pregnancy lead me to this certification and advocating that pregnant women receive care from certified chiropractors. This technique not only ensures that a expectant mother is adjusted safely, but that she’s assessed and thoroughly adjusted so that she may receive all the wonderful benefits chiropractic has to offer during this incredible stage of her life.