Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
Throughout their pregnancies, many women choose to receive chiropractic care due to the benefits either they themselves have researched, or because a care provider/medical professional/doula has suggested they look into it. I’m here to touch on some of the most common reasons to seek chiropractic care during your pregnancy as well as its benefits, according to evidence.
First of all, many women experience back pain during their pregnancy; in fact, it has been reported that approximately 50% of all pregnant women experience back pain during their pregnancy, and 50% to 75% of women experience back pain during labor (Cara L. Borggren). So many different physiological and hormonal changes are happening during pregnancy that often get overlooked, and that goes for postpartum care as well! According to American Pregnancy, some changes that can result from pregnancy include a protruding abdomen and increased back curve, pelvic changes, and postural adaptations, to name a few.
It is important to note that a misaligned pelvis can potentially make it more difficult for the baby to fit properly through the birth canal. In many cases, this will encourage the use of medical interventions to aid the delivery of the baby, such as cesareans. Chiropractic care has also been found to help maintain a healthier pregnancy, control nausea symptoms, reduce the time of labor and delivery (especially if the pelvis is correctly aligned), relieve back, neck or joint pain, and prevent potential cesareans (AmericanPregnancy).
Additionally, if the baby is in an optimal position, there is a lesser risk of shoulder dystocia (although this a rare complication anyways), which can cause complications during labor. Jeanne Ohm also points out that “during pregnancy, when a mother’s body systems are basically functioning for two, any interference to the nerve transmission supporting their function can be detrimental to her health and well-being.
Reducing this nerve system stress is a key ingredient for normal bodily function...shifts in the center of gravity forward and slightly up destabilize her posture and realign the carriage of weights and forces through her joints, predisposing nerves, muscles, bones, and connective tissues to damage. Increased levels of relaxin and elastin [hormones released during pregnancy that help aid the loosening of the pelvis to prepare for birth, among other duties] further aggravate this situation.” For the many reasons mentioned above, it is important for pregnant women to receive chiropractic care (unless instructed otherwise), especially if they hope to have a natural and unobtrusive birth experience.
If you do decide that you want to incorporate chiropractic into your prenatal care, just make to check with your care provider, as they are more likely to be familiar with your overall health and can judge whether or not you are a good candidate. In most instances, it probably wouldn’t be an issue/cause any harm and would likely benefit you in many ways during your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Many parents also choose to seek pediatric chiropractic care for their newborns, which can be very beneficial, especially since those babies have been stuck in such a small space with little room to move for months and months!