In America, it's often said that pregnant women have a "glow" to them. A radiance to their presence that is both seen and felt.
As a chiropractor in Singapore since 2019, and absorbing all that I possibly can in regard to Traditional Chinese Medicine, I can't help but relate this perceived "pregnancy glow" to the TCM concept of Xi.
Whereas each of us as individuals have our own unique Xi, the vital force that exists within us, a woman-with-child has it times two.
She's doubled up on Xi.
Xi squared, if you will.
The Xi is oozing from her pores so of course she is going to glow, right?
That said, pregnancy is not all Xi and rainbows. There a lot of sacrifices to be made by expectant mothers that can literally be nauseating, highly emotional and sometimes even painful. And that doesn't even take into account the delivery.
Double Booking: My First Patient - Within a Patient
When I had my practice in American, it was below a high-end salon called Dominic Michael. I would often trade services. I would get my haircut and the girls would come down to get adjusted on a regular basis. I mentioned to one of the girls, who was pregnant at the time, that I had a professor at Logan that swore he had never worked with a mother-to-be that was in labor for more than three hours. Easy deliveries, he said. I described to her the Webster Technique, a chiropractic technique which facilitates expansion of the pelvic bowl so that the baby can drop properly potentially reducing the need for interventions during the birthing process. And with that, I had my first patient within a patient.
Building the Baby Bump and Other Structural Changes of Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a profound journey that brings significant physical and hormonal changes to a woman's body, especially during a first pregnancy when the experience is entirely new. From the moment of conception to the birth of the child, the body adapts in remarkable ways to accommodate the growing fetus and prepare for labor and delivery.
As the pregnancy progresses, the body releases hormones like relaxin, which helps to loosen the ligaments and joints in the pelvic area. This is essential for the pelvis to expand and change shape, allowing the baby enough room to grow and eventually move into the birthing position. The pelvic bowl, which consists of the two hip bones, sacrum, and coccyx, undergoes notable widening. This is particularly important in the third trimester when the baby drops lower into the pelvis, a process known as lightening or engagement.
Alongside these changes, the center of gravity shifts as the belly grows, often leading to alterations in posture. This can result in low back pain due to increased strain on the lumbar spine. Additionally, as the little bundle of joy grows, the uterus will expand. This expansion can put pressure on the nerves that exit the lower back and pelvis. This additional pressure can lead to discomfort at best and sciatic pain at worst. Enter Chiropractic Care.
Chiropractic Care to Eliminate Pregnancy Related Pain and Accommodate Structural Change
Chiropractic care offers a non-invasive and drug-free approach to alleviating pregnancy-related pains such as low back pain and sciatica, which are common due to the significant physical changes a woman's body undergoes during pregnancy. As the baby grows, the center of gravity shifts, and the additional weight can lead to an increased curvature of the spine, added stress on the discs, and a tilting of the pelvis. These changes can cause misalignments and lead to faulty biomechanics within the spine. In turn, this can put pressure on nerves and result in discomfort. A chiropractor can perform targeted adjustments to correct these misalignments, leading to reduced pain, improved mobility, and a more comfortable pregnancy experience.
Chiropractors trained in prenatal care can also offer exercises and stretches that are safe to perform during pregnancy, contributing to greater strength and flexibility. The types of stretching techniques have often been compared to pre-natal yoga. This specific area of chiropractic that focuses on perinatal care is called The Webster Technique.
This technique focuses on the structural and physiological changes of pregnancy. The Webster Technique of chiropractic can help maintain pelvic balance by ensuring proper alignment and mobility of the sacroiliac (SI) joints and the pubic symphysis. Regular adjustments can enhance the function of these joints, which may facilitate a more comfortable pregnancy and potentially an easier birth process.
Big Space for the Big Debut: How the Webster Technique Sets the Stage in the Pelvic Bowl
All the joints mentioned above make up what is commonly called the pelvic bowl. The Webster Technique is a chiropractic protocol developed by Dr. Larry Webster and certified by International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), which focuses on reducing the tension in the pelvis through a specific sacral analysis and diversified adjustment. By aligning the joints in the pelvic bowl, the technique aims to improve the neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis. The joints in make up the pelvic bowl do not have a lot of motion like a knee or a shoulder, but the little motion they do have is critical, especially during pregnancy.
A healthy joint is a joint with a lot of motion. Joints lubricate themselves through motion and nourish themselves via motion. Without proper motion of the the joints that make up the pelvic bowl it may not expand properly, thus making it more difficult for the baby to drop into the birthing position. Regular chiropractic adjustments adds motion to these joints so that it can expand as the baby grows.
Goals of the Webster Technique - Positioning Baby for an Intervention-Free Delivery
During pregnancy, the relaxation of ligaments and the shifting of weight can cause imbalances in the pelvis, potentially leading to uterine constraint. This can make it difficult for the baby to assume the best possible position for birth. By correcting sacral subluxation, the Webster Technique helps to create a state of balance in the pelvic structures, muscles, and ligaments. This can reduce tension in the uterus, offer the baby more room to move into the correct position for childbirth, and decrease the chances of dystocia (difficult labor), thereby facilitating a more natural and easier childbirth process.
Moreover, chiropractic care can be effective in managing common pregnancy-related pain. By adjusting the spine and pelvis, a chiropractor can help alleviate low back pain. They can also provide relief from joint pain and conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, which may arise from fluid retention and swelling in the hands and wrists.
In addition to regular Chiropractic care, here are ten tips for for a healthy and straightforward pregnancy:
1. Maintain Regular Prenatal Check-ups: This is obvious and doesn't need to be said, especially in a well-educated city like Singapore. Regular visits to a healthcare provider are crucial for monitoring the health of both mother and baby.
2. Exercise Regularly: Engage in safe pregnancy exercises like walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga to strengthen the body and improve endurance needed for labor. Or, play in a volleyball tournament. Be sensible, but do the things that make you happy. Happy mum makes happy baby.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet: Consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods to support the baby's development and maintain the mother's health. Of course, you're eating for two so you're allowed to indulge a bit, but there is a difference between food and nutrition. It's important to give your growing baby the calories it needs, but also the proper nutrition Jr needs in the form of adequate protein, a healthy 1:1 ratio of healthy Omega 3 fats to Omega 6 fats, and the vitamins and minerals from phytonutrition, or plant-based food.
4. Stay Hydrated: Something else that doesn't need to be said, but the explanation might surprise you. Drinking plenty of water is important to support increased blood volume and to help reduce swelling.
5. Practice Good Posture: As a chiropractic, I have to mention posture. Being mindful of posture can help alleviate back pain and reduce strain on the spine.
6. Get Adequate Rest: Sleep and rest are vital for recovery and maintaining energy levels. Pregnancy isn't the time to burn the candle at both ends. That's what husbands are for.
7. Wear Supportive Footwear: More chiropractic advice. Comfortable shoes with good arch support can help manage changes in balance and reduce foot fatigue.
8. Learn Relaxation Techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or prenatal massage can help manage stress and discomfort.
9. Prepare for Childbirth: Childbirth education classes can provide valuable information and help expectant mothers feel more prepared for labor and delivery. Luck favors the prepared mind. Don't press your luck with pregnancy. Educating yourself will greater prepare you for the unexpected.
10. Limit Exposure to Toxins: Avoid harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol, and certain medications to reduce the risk of complications.
Bonus Tip: Go See Your Chiropractor. The nerves that exit the spinal column communicate with every muscle in your body (including the muscles of the uterus) and every organ system of the body (including your reproductive system). In regard to pregnancy, you want everything clicking on all cylinders. You want to tip top 5G communication from top of your head to the tip of your toes - which you many not see for a couple of months.
From Fragile to Formidable: A Contemporary View of the Power of Pregnancy
There was a time when pregnant women were considered fragile and treated like porcelain dolls. Today's moms-to-be are swapping the rocking chair for resistance bands, proving that pregnancy is not a pause button on an active lifestyle. The contemporary philosophy in regard to pregnancy encourages them to maintain their fitness routine prior to becoming pregnant as long as they have the green light from their healthcare providers. They're encouraged to adapt, not stop.
With baby on board, my friend's wife played in a volleyball tournament when she was 7 months. And this was in Manhattan Beach, California, the mecca of beach volleyball. Of course, it's not a one-size-fits-all regimen; everyone is unique. But the message is clear: pregnancy can be a time of vitality and vigor, a period of preparation where mothers train for the endurance event of a lifetime – childbirth. And that's just the beginning...
For more information on how chiropractic can facilitate a happier and healthier pregnancy, call Total Health Chiropractic today.