Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care
For an Easier Pregnancy and a Safer Birth
Chiropractic care during pregnancy can provide the mother with tremendous support during this natural process. At this exciting time, your pregnancy will in all likelihood, bring both rewards and challenges, but it is a time to embrace and a time when you certainly need to get the best from your body.
A growing baby’s health is a direct reflection of the internal environment in which it is developing. So, obviously it follows that it is absolutely vital that the mother takes steps to be as healthy as possible.
During pregnancy, there are several physiological and postural changes that occur partly as a result of the pregnancy, and partly in preparation for the pregnancy, in creating the nurturing environment for the developing baby.
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and improve the internal environment in which the baby develops.
Postural changes during pregnancy
The following postural changes are commonly seen and can very often result in a misaligned spine or joints:
1. Increased lower back curve : The weight gain with pregnancy can accentuate the natural lower back curvature; cause increased compressive load on the pelvic (sacroiliac) joints and lead to low back pain and increased muscle fatigue in the mid back and neck.
2. Increased upper thoracic curvature : This can cause difficulty in breathing, poor digestion, rib and middle back pain.
3. Forward angulation of the neck : This can create headaches, neck stiffness, arm pain and numbness in the upper limb.
4. Hormonal balance changes: Hormonal balance changes between oestrogen and progesterone work together to cause ligament softening and muscle relaxation leading to increased joint mobility. Without this, your baby’s head would never be able to fit through your pelvis.
Chiropractic has been proven for over a hundred years to be safe, gentle and effective in helping pregnant mothers keep their spine and nervous system working and feeling great. Those painful symptoms, which to many are considered ‘normal’ during pregnancy, simply need not be tolerated.
At Total Health Chiropractic, we are privileged to deliver chiropractic care to many expectant mothers. We use gentle methods of spinal adjusting and stretching together with specialist equipment and focused pelvic stability exercises to alleviate many of the aches and pains. Always remember that pain releases stress hormones that will pass via the blood to the baby.
Healthy Effects of Chiropractic during Pregnancy.
In the mother:
- Prepares the pelvis for an easier pregnancy and birth by creating a state of balance in pelvic bony structures, muscles and ligaments.
- Decreases pain and discomfort by reducing interference to the mother’s nervous system which controls and coordinates all of her vital functions.
- Removes tension on the ligaments that support the uterus thus reducing torsion (Intrauterine Constraint) to the woman’s uterus.
- Allows for a safer easier birth for the mother decreasing the potential for intervention.
In the infant:
- By removing interference to the mother’s nerve system, allows for better baby development.
- Allows the baby room to develop without restriction causing unnecessary pressure to its forming cranium, spine and other skeletal structures.
- Allows the baby sufficient room to move into the best possible position for birth. With proper fetal positioning, there is a significant decrease in birth trauma caused by intervention. Breech and posterior positions can interfere with the natural ease of labor and lead to interventions such as c-sections.
- Importantly, reduces the amount of stress hormones being produced by the mother, which can have detrimental effects on the developing fetus.
At Total Health Chiropractic we utilize the Chiropractic Biophysics system of analysis and adjusting that is specific, hands on, manual chiropractic.
Chiropractic care has been shown to be both safe and effective before, during and after pregnancy. Gentle, specific adjusting techniques will be modified by your chiropractor as needed, and to accommodate your growing belly. At times, the frequency of adjustment visits can be increased toward to end of the pregnancy due to the increased spinal load and mobility.
In our practice we have observed that pregnant women receiving chiropractic care have easier and faster births than women who are not adjusted during their pregnancy. And the research supports our observation: A study by Joan Fallon showed that first time mothers receiving chiropractic care averaged a 24% shorter labor time than those not receiving chiropractic.1
X-ray procedures are not considered safe during pregnancy however they may be utilized following birth.
Remember, it is important to maintain a balanced healthy lifestyle throughout your pregnancy. Remember to do some regular, gentle low impact exercise, keep a balanced diet, avoid toxins and mentally prepare yourself for the time ahead. Most of all enjoy your journey into motherhood.
1. The Effect of Chiropractic Treatment on Pregnancy and Labour: A Comprehensive Study. Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic, 1991:24-31
Research supporting Chiropractic and Pregnancy
Dr Ivan Hendryson MD – Women who received chiropractic adjustments in their third trimester of pregnancy were able to carry and deliver the child with more comfort.
Per Freitag Orthopaedist – This study incorporated chiropractic adjustments during the patients’s pregnancy. Results indicated that the need for pain killers during delivery was reduced by half.
Chiropractic Interprofessional Research 1982 – 75% of the studied women who received chiropractic adjustments during their pregnancy benefited by relief of complaints such as low back pain, middle back pain, neck pain, headaches and vertigo.
Joan Fallon 1990 “Chiropractic and Pregnancy” –
1) Labour time in first pregnancy: Without Chiropractic = 14hours. With Chiropractic 8-9 hours.
2) Labour time in second pregnancy: Without Chiropractic = 8-9 hours. With Chiropractic = 4-5 hours.
In other words first time mums averaged a 24% shorter labour time , whist mothers who had already given birth experienced a 39% reduction in the average labour time.
A recent study published in the journal Chiropractic & Manual Therapies followed 115 pregnant women who sough out chiropractic care and found that 52% reported significant improvements in their pain after just one week of treatment. After one month, the researchers note that more than 70% of the expectant mothers in the study achieved clinically significant improvements in pain based on outcome assessments.
Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, February 2015