Dr. Matthew Gianforte
Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in the life of your family and can also come with so many questions. Many of those questions surrounding what you can and can’t do and use for the variety of discomforts that inevitable come with pregnancy. The toll that pregnancy takes on the body is high and will cause pain and discomfort at some point. For some, this is worse than others. We have never met a mother who did not want the best possible pregnancy and start to life that she could offer her child. The support of chiropractic care during your pregnancy can help you have a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy.
The medical literature and research available around chiropractic care and pregnancy shows the same benefits we see in clinical practice which is: less back pain, less back labor, fewer cesarean births, fewer breech positions, and decreased labor time in those who had chiropractic care during pregnancy. The only women who should not consider regular chiropractic care during pregnancy are whose who are experiencing vaginal bleeding, placenta previa or abruption, ectopic pregnancy or moderate/severe toxemia.
It is estimated that 50% of pregnant women experience back pain during their pregnancy, and we suggest this may be a conservative percentage. In a large survey, 72% of women reported after their pregnancy that they think they would have benefited from chiropractic care. Back pain during pregnancy occurs for two primary reason- structural changes to the spine and hormones changes that result in less pelvic stability.
Spine Changes During Pregnancy
This happens primarily from the changing load distribution as the weight of the baby increases. The spine simply has more weight in areas is previously did not and this will cause pain for most people. The natural curve in the spine becomes more severe and hips and pelvis take on a new and heavier load. The traction, pressure and stretch of the entire pelvic area including the peritoneum, bladder, urethra and rectum also can cause pain. There is more stress on the sacroiliac joints which can cause quite severe and even immobilizing pain.
Hormone Changes During Pregnancy
Hormones changes during third trimester can cause hypermobility in the pelvic region which is exactly what the body needs to prepare for the physicality of labor and delivery. More movement in the pelvis is necessary, but it can cause the spine to be easily misaligned before it is actually time for delivery. Increases in progesterone, estrogen and relaxin are the hormones responsible for this shift. For some, even after delivery the pelvic instability remains an issue as it takes week for those hormones to adjust and stabilize after pregnancy moves into postpartum. Adjustments during and after pregnancy can help keep your pelvis stable through these hormone shifts
But I Don’t Have Back Pain
Even if pain is not occuring during your pregnancy (yay!!) there are still profound benefits to chiropractic care during pregnancy. Of utmost importance is optimal nerve signalling through the body. Each vertebrate must be aligned correctly for the body’s nerve signals to function properly. The spine is the place from which the signalling to each of your body organs and systems flows. When supporting the growth and development of a baby, this signalling needs to be at its best. Many have found chiropractic care to relieve nausea and we know it will improve your immune system function. Any mother would agree that getting sick while pregnant is generally more taxing than when you are not. This is in part to the extra work the entire body must do during pregnancy. Chiropractic adjustments can help support optimal functioning in every organ in the body. It is also a useful tool in potentially preventing a c-section and decreases the likelihood of a breech position at birth. When the pelvis is balanced, the baby can move more freely and is less likely to be breech.
In surveys of women who had chiropractic care during pregnancy, they have been found to have 25-31% shorter labor times than those who did not have adjustments during pregnancy. With the average first time labor being 14 hours, chiropractic care could take over 3-4 hours off your labor time!
Benefits of Adjustments During Pregnancy\
- Healthier pregnancy
- Help control nausea
- Relieve pain
- Improve nerve communication
- Decrease risk of breech birth
With many medical interventions that are not available during pregnancy, having regular chiropractic adjustments are a powerful tool in your toolbelt for a healthy pregnancy. LifeWorks Integrative Health loves supporting healthy pregnancy and babies. If you are already in pain and need relief or want to be proactive in preventing pain during your pregnancy and experiencing all the added benefits of chiropractic adjustments, we are here to help!