Of all the biological processes, there is none more astounding than the miracle of birth. Consequently, before, during and after this process, the mother’s body is exposed to a phenomenal amount of stress, both mental and physical. While many remedies exist for coping with the inevitable side effects of child bearing, one of the most effective continues to be collaborating with a qualified chiropractic physician.
For a variety of reasons, this marriage can be advantageous for both the mother AND child to be, starting with the need to address the drastic body changes for our mother. These dramatic changes lead to alterations in center of gravity and compensatory postural adjustments all the way up and down the kinematic chain. The average gain of 25-35 pounds disbursed throughout the body leads to overworked muscles and segmental misalignments.
This stress is particularly intense throughout the spine and the low back, with current studies reporting that at least half of all expecting mothers will experience low back pain at some point throughout their pregnancy. Studies have also found that as high as 84% of pregnant mothers reported relief of back pain during pregnancy when receiving chiropractic care.
Other studies have shown women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labor times and women giving birth for the second or third time reported 39% reduction in shorter labor times. In another study, the need for analgesics was reduced by 50% in the patients who received adjustments.
In addition to having to tote the extra weight, improper alignment is further facilitated by the release of hormones like relaxin, which as the name implies, relaxes the ligaments in order to make room for the growing baby. This can be problematic due to the fact that the hormone affects all ligaments and can contribute to your misalignments, imbalance, and fixations.
There is no other profession more aptly trained to identify and correct these issues than chiropractic. Being consistently checked and when needed, adjusted during the strenuous pregnancy, can not only lead to a more comfortable pregnancy, but a less painful childbirth and decreased likelihood of chronic, postpartum pain conditions.
The pelvis in particular is a major focus when evaluating and treating the pregnant patient. When misaligned, it can actually reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby, preventing the baby from getting into the best position possible for delivery.
This creates a phenomenon called uterine constraint or mal-presentation, which can lead to a breech positioning or eventual C-section. Due to the uterus’s direct and indirect attachments to the spine via various ligaments, a technique known as the Webster Technique has been utilized with great success. The technique involves a specific analysis and adjustment in order to balance the pelvis, relieving stress to the uterus and ligaments and potentially clearing the way for optimal fetal positioning and a natural birth.
This all natural technique has withstood the test of time and continues to be utilized by many, and for good reason. As far back as 2002, The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported 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.
In addition to these examples, the neurological, nutritional and lifestyle support a chiropractor can provide should not be understated. As we know, the nervous system controls all and the food we provide our bodies fuels that nervous system. Working with someone who properly addresses both of these two factors, while implementing the necessary chiropractic care, can truly be one of the best options for attaining a smooth, all-natural birthing process.
Outside of the obvious physical alterations, the majority of changes takes place within the body and are governed by the proper release and amount of hormones. This is all under direct control of the nervous system, which is something we as chiropractors assess and treat in order to obtain optimal function. This is crucial for the mother, her reproductive organs and child. Many times it is the reason for those “chiropractic miracles” that assist those couples who were having fertility issues.
This topic is particularly near and dear to my heart these days due to my wife being in her second trimester. We have been working together with great success and are overjoyed to have been blessed with this experience.
If you have any questions about any of the subject matter presented or are interested in pre or postpartum care, as always, please feel free to contact me.