Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is health maintenance of the spinal column, discs, related nerves and bone geometry without drugs or surgery. It involves the art and science of adjusting misaligned joints of the body, especially of the spine, which reduces spinal nerve stress and therefore promotes health throughout the body.

Is chiropractic care safe during pregnancy?

There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. All chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant. Investing in the fertility and pregnancy wellness of women who are pregnant or trying to conceive is a routine treatment for most chiropractors.

Low Back Pain and Sciatica

If you are pregnant and suffering from low back pain you are not alone! Roughly one half of all mothers-to-be suffer from low back pain and doctors now agree that pregnancy related low back pain is associated with a condition called sacroiliac joint dysfunction (often referred to by chiropractors as SI subluxation). A subluxation is a misalignment of a joint and it creates irritation to the nerves and tissues in the surrounding area. The sacroiliac joints are created by the joining of the sacrum (the triangular bone that sits above our tailbone) and the bones that are on either side of the sacrum known as the inominate bones (the area many people consider the hips). Many hormones increase rapidly during pregnancy and some of these hormones relax the muscles, ligaments, and joints in the body. This allows the pelvis to open during delivery so that the baby’s head and shoulders can pass through the birth canal. Yet, it is this relaxation combined with weight gain, postural changes and stretching of the stomach muscles that also disturbs the proper alignment of the spine and pelvis producing subluxations during pregnancy. It is these factors that increase the stress on the joints, nerves, and discs of the low back and pelvis and create pain.

Sciatica, a common symptom that occurs during pregnancy, causes pain, tingling or numbness from the low back to the back of the leg and foot. Sciatica often occurs because of subluxations in the low back or pelvis along with muscle spasms in this area. Most cases of sciatica will quickly disappear with chiropractic care.

Headaches

Due to the changes in a pregnant woman’s posture, extra stress often occurs in the neck and the midback. Subluxations of the neck are often the cause of neck pain and headaches during pregnancy. Most headaches of pregnancy are muscle-tension type headaches where the pain feels like a tight band across the forehead and it is accompanied by spasmed muscles in the neck or shoulders.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes painful tingling, burning and numbness into the wrist and hand and it occurs in approximately 20% of all pregnancies. Subluxation of the wrist bones often occurs during pregnancy because of hormonal changes and swelling of the wrist and hands and Chiropractic adjustments can help.

Mid-back and Rib Pain

Pain in the midback that radiates into the ribcage is often due to subluxations that cause the nerves between the ribs to get irritated. Chiropractic adjustments remove the subluxations to decrease the pain.


Why should I have chiropractic care during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, there are several physiological and endocrinological changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby. The following changes could result in a misaligned spine or joint:

•Protruding abdomen and increased back curve

•Pelvic changes

•Postural adaptations

Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery.

The nervous system is the master communication system to all the body systems including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively.

What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?

Chiropractic care during pregnancy may provide benefits for women who are pregnant. Potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:

•Maintaining a healthier pregnancy

•Controlling symptoms of nausea

•Reducing the time of labor and delivery

•Relieving back, neck or joint pain

•Prevent a potential cesarean section

What about chiropractic care and breech deliveries?

The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which enables chiropractors to establish balance in the pregnant woman's pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments. This balanced state in the pelvis makes it easier for a breech baby to turn naturally. The technique is known as the Webster Technique.

It is considered normal by some for a baby to present breech until the third trimester. Most birth practitioners are not concerned with breech presentations until a patient is 37 weeks along. Approximately 4% of all pregnancies result in a breech presentation.

The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique. Further, the results from the study suggest that it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy when a woman has a breech presentation.

Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether. Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.


 
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