Chiropractic care during pregnancy is one of the lesser known uses of chiropractic. As someone who has an expecting wife I have become acutely aware of the challenges during pregnancy and where chiropractic can help.
So why would you go to a chiropractor while you were pregnant?
Pregnancy can be tough. There never seems to be any constant during it other than that the body is constantly changing and it’s different for everybody. Some weeks there can be nausea, than the nausea goes away but headaches come on, then the midback tightens up as your belly grows, or the low back pain and sciatica start. Sometimes even the joint at the front of the pelvis called your pubic symphysis starts to hurt. This pain can be managed with over-the-counter or sometimes even prescription pain relievers but I personally worry about how those chemicals are going to affect the developing baby. Smoking and alcohol are big no-no’s during pregnancy and I tend to think of medications as being in the same group. If you can help it, try to stay off the meds as much as possible. If there is a true need, no shame in using them.
The great thing about chiropractic is that we have a lot of success managing these painful symptoms without using drugs. Typically, as a mother’s weight distribution changes, her posture starts to change with it and new joints in her body become painful due to the new stresses placed on them. One example is in the picture below.
Also as the pregnancy progresses the body in it’s wisdom starts to pump out hormones that begin to relax and loosen the ligaments in the pelvis. This is a good thing because the pelvis has to expand during childbirth to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal but the negative is that before labor those same pelvic joints become lax and unstable. This is where mothers will feel “something shift out of place” in their pelvis followed by low back pain or sciatica. Check out this video on how those joints work.
Chiropractors are specifically trained to assess the joints in the pelvis and spine and determine if they aren’t moving, are moving too much, or are misaligned.
How is a chiropractic treatment different during pregnancy?
In pregnancy we are specifically focused on three things.
1) We want the bones of your pelvis to be aligned so that there is as much space as possible for the comfort and health of the mother and baby
2) We want the nerves to the uterus to function fully so that the uterus, which is a muscle, can contract fully during labor.
3) We want the pelvis to orientate in a way that the baby can be in a good position for labor and delivery.
Pregnancy isn't a disease that we need to cure. The body knows what it’s doing, we just try to give gentle adjustments to optimize the function of it. The adjustments are much lighter than a regular chiropractic visit as it takes less force to align things due to the laxity in the ligaments of a pregnant patient. Typically, I recommend a chiropractic visit every 2 weeks for the 2nd trimester and then we go to once a week for the 3rd trimester until the baby comes.
Aside from chiropractic here are some other drug-free resources that can help immensely.
Acupuncture and chiropractic go hand in hand. If chiropractic doesn’t work for a patient, acupuncture is always my first referral. Acupuncture is particularly helpful for the unique hormonal issues that women encounter during pregnancy. In St. Paul we recommend Selby Acupuncture
This is our go-to book during pregnancy and after. It’s an expansive resource that we find ourselves going back to again and again.
I have seen essential oils used as an alternative to medications during pregnancy with much success.
SI belts can be a great way to keep the SI joints and pubic symphysis stable during pregnancy and postpartum. I recommend getting an adjustment and then using the SI belts to hold those joints in a stable orientation.
Electromagnetic frequencies from cell phones, wifi routers, and computers are increasingly being shown to have detrimental effects on our cells.. Belly Armor shirts cancel out electromagnetic frequencies for the developing fetus.