Chiropractic and Pregnancy

Understanding the changes in your body and how chiropractic can help…

 

A person’s spine is made of 24 moveable bones called vertebrae, plus the sacrum (tailbone), pelvis, and skull. From the brain, nerve impulses travel down the spinal cord, branch out into nerves, and exit between the vertebrae. A doctor of chiropractic aligns the vertebrae and pelvis through gentle adjustments to the spine, relieving the pressure on the nerves and allowing the neuronal flow to reach the tissues it serves.

 

Biomechanically during pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity shifts forward and down due to her growing belly and breast tissue.  This changes and increases the distribution of weight to her pelvic structures leading to less than optimal pressure through her joints, nerves, and musculature.  That in turn can lead to damage to those structures.  Gait compensations and the increase of ligament-relaxing hormones add to those stresses and can exacerbate any injuries.

 

Despite the tremendous neuro-musculoskeletal demands of growing a new life, seeing a chiropractor regularly throughout pregnancy can help to make sure her pelvic structures are balanced and properly functioning, as well as clear of any interference that might interrupt the flow of nervous innervation from the spinal cord.  Chiropractic is safe and effective for both the mother and baby and there are no additional contraindications for treating pregnant women than there would be applied to any other patient population.

 

Chiropractic is not just physical well-being…

 

We often fail to consider the emotional stress caused by physical stressors and pain.  As a pregnant woman’s body undergoes the changes that cause her musculoskeletal discomforts, it can be a cause of concern and anxiety.  Having access to a chiropractic physician who not only will explain what is going on in her body and why, but can often alleviate many of her symptoms, can help to calm the emotional challenges of pregnancy.

 

The research behind it…

 

Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments help with pregnancy-related low back pain and can decrease pain during labor.  In one study from the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, the authors compared two groups of pregnant women with low back pain.  One group received regular chiropractic care whereas the other did not.  The group under the care of chiropractors reported less pain during pregnancy and labor (Diakow, Gadsby, Gleddie, Leprich, Scales; Back pain during pregnancy and labor. JMPT 1991;14(2):116-8).

 

In another study, women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labor times and subjects giving birth for the second or third time reported 39% reduction in shorter labor times. In another study, the need for analgesics was reduced by 50% in the patients who received adjustments. In addition, 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with chiropractic care. When women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis function better. As a result, there is significantly less likelihood of back labor (contractions and sharp pain felt in the lower back during labor). Chiropractic care has helped new mothers become more comfortable breastfeeding (posture-wise) as well as to produce more milk. Chiropractic care has also been shown to reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression.

Additional resources: www.icpa4kids.org,

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