Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care
While pregnancy is a joyous time, it can also have lasting effects on a woman’s body. Pregnancy causes a woman’s posture to change. During pregnancy, hormones are released causing ligaments and joints to loosen – allowing for an easier birthing process. Also, stomach muscles are naturally stretched, this decreases the ability of those muscles to contract and hold the lower spine in proper alignment. Helping correct your posture through adjustments and exercises can help maintain proper integrity, blood flow, and nerve conduction throughout the body and most importantly to aid the proper growth of the baby.
As the baby grows, so does the mother’s belly. This causes the women’s center of gravity to also move forward. The forward movement increases the lower back curve in the spine. Women commonly have low back pain during pregnancy due to this transfer of their center of gravity, creating more pressure for prolonged periods on the lower spine especially with bending forward and straightening up.
Let’s explore a few areas that can help a woman with her posture during pregnancy.
Proper sleeping posture is important during pregnancy. Pregnant women should not sleep on their backs especially in the later trimesters as the baby is growing can put pressure on important veins (vena cava) and intestines causing aggravated back pain, decreased blood flow, and decreased digestive function. Side sleeping is optimal for the circulation of blood and nutrients for the mom and the fetus (particularly on the left side because it allows for less pressure on important veins that carry blood back to the heart from the lower extremities and enhances kidney function). Putting a pillow between the legs and propped up behind the lower back for additional low back support and comfort while sleeping and resting is beneficial for pregnant women.
Chiropractic care can help during pregnancy and the birthing process by improving circulation and nerve conduction while decreasing muscle tension, aches, and pains.
Treating a pregnant patient is no different than treating a patient who isn’t pregnant. Adjustments are still possible and possibly more beneficial because of all the changes her body is going through. Chiropractors can make minor changes and tweaks to how adjustments are performed as the baby grows and the mom goes through different trimesters. Some of those changes include adding special pregnancy pillows to decrease pressure on the belly, gentler adjustments,
Seeing a chiropractor would be beneficial if a mom-to-be is:
- Having pregnancy-related back pain.
- Wanting to address pregnancy-related spinal concerns and/or postural concerns.
- Are being proactive for your and your baby’s health and wellness during pregnancy.
Prenatal massage therapy is also beneficial. Specific massage techniques designed for pregnancy can help reduce anxiety, decrease muscle tension, increase relaxation, and improve lymphatic and blood circulation.
Stretching and staying active are great ways to take care of your body during pregnancy.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Seated piriformis stretch helps with sciatica and low back pain. Piriformis is a muscle in the gluteal region that can spasm and cause low back pain and sciatica symptoms. See the seated piriformis stretch demonstrated.
The Cat-Cow stretch helps strengthen low back while decreasing hip and back pain. This also helps with round ligament pain (a ligament in the pelvis that is stretched during pregnancy and can cause pain). See the cat-cow stretch demonstrated.
Standing pelvic tilt helps stretch lower back muscles to help alleviate pain. See the standing pelvic tilt demonstrated.
As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. We’re here to help this joyous time even more memorable.