Episode #32 Pregnancy & Chiropractic
A growing belly is something to cherish during pregnancy, but that growing belly can throw things out of balance. These changes can pose challenges for both mom and baby.
What happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy?
- Weight Gain
- Physical changes you experience during pregnancy-impact on your posture and comfort.
- Protruding abdomen resulting in an increased curve of your back
- As baby becomes heavier, center of gravity shifts, and posture adjusts accordingly.
***These physical changes during your pregnancy can lead to a misaligned spine or joints.
- Relaxin (hormone) prepares your body to loosen, grow and stretch.
- Can cause joints to become unstable
- Increases in the first trimester
*These strains can cause:
- Lower back pain
- Sciatic nerve pain
- Sacroiliac pain
- Pubic symphysis pain
- Round ligament pain
- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
3 Ways Chiropractic care can help during pregnancy
Did you know that up to 75% of pregnant women suffer from pain in their back or pelvis? Regular visits to a chiropractor during your pregnancy can address low back and hip pain for Mom!
The research shows:
– In one study, researchers in Switzerland followed 115 pregnant women for a year who went to see a chiropractor with low back pain. What they found in this study was that over half of the patients said they ‘improved’ after just one week of chiropractic care, and after a month that figure had grown to 70%. By the end of the study, about 90% of the mums who entered the study said their pain was better. At the end of the study over 85% of the mum’s said they were happy with the care they received from their chiropractor. Peterson, Muhlemann, Humphreys. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2014;22(1):15
What does adjustment look like during pregnancy/technique:
First, DC’s will do an assessment and exam.
Care will be recommended based on findings. May include adjustments and modalities.
Adjustments to Lumbar spine, Sacrum, Round Ligament Release, Wrists
Pregnant women can be adjusted in the same manner as non pregnant women. As women advance through pregnancy and the baby continues to grow the body positioning and technique can change.
Subluxations can interrupt or impede the flow of the information from the brain out to the body or vice versa, leading to a less than optimal state of being. This impaired movement can also cause dysfunction throughout the entire kinetic chain. The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic sacral analysis and Diversified chiropractic adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation/SI joint dysfunction. In doing so, neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is facilitated. (1)
- Pregnancy pillows and drop/sway tables can be incorporated to allow the mom to lay on her stomach. This allows for a full assessment of the spine to take place.
- Light force techniques can be implemented later in pregnancy such as activator and arthrostim
- Maintaining proper pelvic and sacral position plays an important role in maintaining a strong core and pain free labor.
- When the pelvic becomes misaligned the walking gait cycle, sitting standing and even laying down can produce undesired pressure on the pelvis.
- Round ligament release can be a technique used by Chiropractors to ease the tension on the pelvis.
Adjustments designed to re-establish balance can align Mom’s pelvis and spine. This can benefit baby, too!
- A pelvis that’s out of alignment can restrict the amount of space available to your developing baby. When an external force obstructs your growing baby’s normal movements, it’s known as intrauterine constraint. This can lead to birth defects.
- Another complication that a misaligned pelvis may pose relates to delivery. When the pelvis is out of alignment, it can make it hard for your baby to move into the best position to be born, which is rear-facing, head down.
- Could affect a woman’s ability to have a natural and noninvasive birth. A balanced pelvis also means your baby has a lower chance of moving into a breech or posterior position. When your baby is in a nonoptimal birthing position, it can lead to a longer, more complicated delivery.
- Improved outcomes in labor and delivery for women who’ve received chiropractic care during their pregnancy. In fact, it may help reduce the length of time you’re in labor.
Research Shows:One study reporting that new moms experience on average a 25% reduction in the length of labor time with chiropractic care during pregnancy and that rises to a 31% reduction for mothers who have given birth before.
Borggren. Pregnancy and Chiropractic: a Narrative Review Of the Literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2007;6(2):70-74.
- To give the best chance for a natural, vaginal birth – Adjustments can help a Woman have more control of her Pelvic Floor! Making Childbirth EASIER!
- When we contract the pelvic floor muscles, the left and the right are supposed to contract at the same time. The superficial muscles are supposed to contract first and then the deeper muscle will follow. When subluxated, the timing of these muscle contractions can be off.
- Pelvic floor muscles are known to have an active role in pregnancy, childbirth and spinal stabilization.
- When these pelvic floor muscles aren’t working well, this can cause many health issues for women; ex incontinence
- During labor- it’s really important for a woman to be able to relax and contract her pelvic muscles to help the baby to move through the birth canal. In order to give the best chance for a natural, vaginal birth, a woman in labor needs to have strong pelvic floor muscles that can relax and contract just at the right time.
The Research shows:
– Adjustments help with our muscle control. A study was done with Ultrasound Imaging at a Chiropractic School. A group of pregnant women and a group of non-pregnant women. These women participated in 3 maneuvers; bearing down, squeezing as hard as they could and rest. Adjustments were given and then these same movements were tested. The main area that was tested was the Levator Hiatel Area -really important aspect of the pelvic floor function when giving birth. The study showed that the pregnant women experienced relaxation of these muscles after an adjustment, unlike the non-pregnant group. The actual hiatus hole got larger at rest after the adjustment. This could indicate that adjustments may help pregnant women have a natural delivery by helping to relax the pelvic muscles. Being able to open these muscles up during labor is really important.
– The study also showed on the nonpregnant women, they had an ability to squeeze like an elite athlete would. This was an interesting finding and could mean that the chiropractic care for these nonpregnant women helped them gain better control of their pelvic floor muscles. This would suggest that chiro care before pregnancy may help a woman get her body in better shape for labor.
Yan, et al. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Systems Biology and Medicine 2016;8(6):506-16.
Is Chiropractic Safe?
- “It appears that pregnant women can relax their pelvic floor muscles at rest after a Chiropractic adjustment, and that relaxation can mean that Chiropractic care could be a benefit to pregnant women as it could help he have a natural vaginal delivery.”
- Up to 92% of breech presentation babies have been report to resolve following an adjustment using the webster technique
- There are countless reasons to visit a chiropractor during pregnancy, but one of the most intriguing ones is that it could lead to a shorter labor (1). There is a possible relationship between back pain throughout pregnancy and longer labors. This is not surprising, as relaxation is the key to an easier labor (ask any HypnoBirthing mama!). If you’re in pain, you can’t relax, which would lengthen labor.
- Borggren, Cara. J Chiropr Med. 2007 Spring; 6(2): 70–74.
Published online 2007. doi: 10.1016/j.jcme.2007.04.004
- Borggren, Cara. J Chiropr Med. 2007 Spring; 6(2): 70–74.
We collaborate with OBGYN’s and work with your MD. We receive referrals from OBGYN’s and will communicate with your MD. Some of the offices we work with: Grace OBGYN, Biltmore OBGYN.