Congratulations on your baby! The moment you find out you are pregnant is a special time filled with joy, nerves, and excitement. You are also probably still feeling great. Eventually hormone changes take over and that little baby bump grows throwing off your center of gravity. Then, all of a sudden, you take a step and feel a sharp twinge in your lower back. Ouch! This experience is common for many women throughout their pregnancy. However, most moms-to-be don’t realize there is safe and effective help out there for back pain during pregnancy- It is chiropractic!
Pregnancy is an extraordinary time in your life and this is the time to take really good care of your body and your growing baby. Eating right, exercising and visiting your healthcare provider are all ways to maintain a healthy pregnancy, but adding a prenatal chiropractor to that list can make all the difference in how you feel for those long nine months. Not only does chiropractic care help to decrease low back pain, but it has also been shown to increase chances for a safe and natural labor.
Why does your back hurt during pregnancy? Well, there are several physiological and endocrinological (hormonal) changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby. This includes hormone changes that loosen up ligaments and joints, protruding abdomen, increased back curve, pelvic changes, and postural adaptations that can all result in a misaligned spine or joints know as segmental dysfunction of the spine. Segmental dysfunction (chiropractic vertebral subluxation) is the result of improper motion or position in the vertebra or sacro-illaic joints affecting nerve communications that can cause muscles to go into spasm. This is what can cause back pain and those painful conditions during pregnancy, such as sacro-illiac joint dysfunction, sciatica, diastasis symphysis pubis, and round ligament pain.
Pelvis misalignment is another symptom that can occur in pregnancy and can cause a reduction in the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery, causing the baby to be in breech or posterior presentation. This can affect the mother’s ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth and lead to interventions such as c-sections.
Chiropractic adjustments can help to align the pelvis and spine which will reduce the tension on the nerves and muscles, decrease pain, and keep the pelvis in good alignment to allow the baby room to get in the best head down position for delivery. Prenatal chiropractors are trained in The Webster technique, which is a specific chiropractic analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation/ SI joint dysfunction. Adjustments help the neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis to improve.
Webster Technique is used throughout pregnancy. We encourage patients to start treatment as soon as they become pregnant. This will help to keep the pelvis aligned properly while the body is changing due to the growth of the baby. It is specifically used when a misaligned pelvis causes the tightening and torsion of specific pelvis muscles and ligaments. It is these tense muscles and ligaments and their constraining effect on the uterus, which prevents the baby from achieving the best possible position for birth.
Webster is a safe and effective adjustment throughout pregnancy. Webster is done using very gentle low force with the help of a drop table. It does not hurt the baby or the mom. Most moms leave the office feeling much better than when they walked in.
Chiropractic isn’t just helpful during pregnancy. It is also crucial after you give birth. Your body just went through a major event that can cause joints to shift. Often after birth, whether vaginally or via c-section, the mother’s pelvic biomechanics change – these changes can bring discomfort with walking, nursing and sleeping. Adjustments can help to restore the pelvic balance with similar manipulation, exercises and stretches that were used during prenatal care. Adjustments can help to realign the pelvis before all of the hormones in the body decrease and the joints solidify. This will help to prevent future back pain as well as set your body and pelvis up to be in proper alignment for future pregnancies. The best time to get adjusted postpartum is within the first 6 weeks.
New baby means new positions for your body. You will be holding your little bundle for hours, nursing or bottle feeding her, carrying your baby in her car seat, and rocking her to sleep. This can cause a lot of tension in the mid to upper back and alter normal body biomechanics. There is a tendency for new mothers to flex forward for long periods of time, which can aggravate the mid back area. Your chiropractor can help to keep your back in propter alignment and motion which will decrease tension in those awkward positions.
Babies and children benefit from adjustments too. Birth can be a traumatic experience on a newborn’s body. They are pulled, torqued and twisted which can affect the alignment of their spine. As children learn how to walk, they are falling constantly, and when they become older, children tend to be active and play sports. All of these activities can cause misalignments in your child’s spine. By evaluating and correcting misalignments in the spine, it can help prevent injury, pain and back issues later on in life. Pediatric chiropractors go through almost two years of special training, classes, research projects and a board certification test. They learn safe, gentle, effective and specific techniques to properly adjust little bodies.
Along with putting the spine in proper alignment, chiropractic adjustments have been proven to help increase immune system response. This can potentially help the body to better fight infections, decrease colic, and decrease severity of ear infections. Regular adjustments may decrease allergy symptoms, decrease growing pain and even help babies to sleep better. The doctor uses a very gentle touch when adjusting your child. It does not hurt and most children seem happy and relaxed after their adjustment.
Every person should be under chiropractic care. Please visit your chiropractor today and see how truly amazing your body can feel!
Written by: Dr. Alayna Pagnani-Gendron, D.C
Featured in Natural Awakenings Houston Magazine and The Baby Chick Blog