Pregnancy can be an exciting time filled with anticipation, but it also means a lot of physical changes, some of which are uncomfortable. Changes to the body occur due to a combination of shifting hormones, increase in blood volume and weight gain.
Although all women are different, pregnancy discomforts can include nausea, headache and back and pelvic pain. Swollen ankles and aching joints are also common. Pregnancy discomforts can be challenging to deal with since typical treatments for aches and pains, such as medication is often not recommended during pregnancy. With that being said, chiropractor care may be a good option to keep your body in balance during pregnancy.
How Chiropractor Care Can Treat Pregnancy Discomforts
During pregnancy, weight gain and the increase in the size of the uterus can put pressure on various nerves throughout the body. It can also lead to some changes in the lumbar spine, as well as a misaligned pelvis. Changes in the thoracic spine may also develop. The thoracic region may compensate for the lumbar spine misalignment and bend the opposite way leading to even more problems.
Misalignments in the spine may cause an uneven distribution of weight, which leads to pain, but that’s not all. Misalignments in the spine and pelvis can stress a women’s nervous system. When the nervous system is stressed or overloaded, it can lead to a variety of other problems including impairment of the organs.
Pelvic misalignment is not only a problem for you, but it can also cause problems for your baby. The muscles and ligaments can become tense, which can constrain the uterus and may prevent the baby from getting into the correct position for birth. If the baby cannot get into the correct head-down position for delivery, it can result in a breech birth, which increases the chances of complications.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy helps keep the spine and pelvis aligned throughout your pregnancy, which may alleviate many common pregnancy discomforts.
Chiropractor care can be beneficial during all three trimesters of pregnancy for several reasons including:
Decreased back and joint pain: Between pregnancy hormones that relax your ligaments and carrying extra weight, your back may start to lack support. The joints can also ache from the added stress placed on them from carrying a little one for nine months. Regular chiropractic care can help a woman maintain a healthy back throughout pregnancy.
Improved posture: The extra weight women carry in their front from pregnancy can cause a curve in the back. The protruding tummy and increased curve place stress on the lower back, which can lead to posture problems. Chiropractic care can help restore correct posture and prevent any long-term posture issues.
Pelvic alignment: It is very common for pregnant women to experience pelvic pain. When the pelvis is misaligned, it can lead to additional problems, such as hip pain. Chiropractic care can help maintain correct pelvic alignment throughout pregnancy.
Shorter delivery time: Correct alignment of the spine can improve overall nervous system function. When the nervous system is functioning optimally, your entire body works more efficiently. Some research has indicated that women who have regular chiropractor care during pregnancy have shorter delivery times.
Keep in mind; continued chiropractor care can be beneficial. Chiropractic care may also be helpful after a woman delivers. For example, as a woman’s milk comes in, it can lead to a heaviness in the chest that causes back discomfort. Delivery itself can lead to a misalignment of the spine. Also, carrying around a baby can lead to tension in the shoulders and neck. Regular chiropractor adjustments can ease some of the aches and pains many new moms may feel.
Precautions and Safety Tips
According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are no known contraindications for chiropractic care during pregnancy. Although chiropractic care is considered safe for most women throughout their pregnancy, it is always best to talk with your family doctor, ObGyn or midwife first. There may be unusual circumstances, such as if a woman has a history of premature birth or multiple miscarriages, which chiropractic care may not be recommended.
All chiropractors should be trained to treat pregnant women, but some chiropractors go on to receive further training specifically in prenatal adjustments. Before scheduling an appointment, consider asking the chiropractor if she/he has any additional training related to care for pregnant women.
Chiropractors who are trained to treat women during pregnancy may have expertise in using special techniques, which are especially gentle. For example, chiropractors may use techniques that avoid putting unneeded pressure on the abdomen. They may also use special tables and pillows that are more comfortable for pregnant women.
Before scheduling an appointment with your chiropractor, make sure you inform him about your pregnancy. Also, you may want to avoid any chiropractic x-rays during pregnancy. As always, be sure to talk to your chiropractor about your specific aches and pains and any concerns you have.