Prenatal Chiropractic: 4 Things You Need to Know
Prenatal chiropractic is definitely something to consider if you are in pain. Although pain is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy, it doesn’t have to be a rite of passage. Pain is also the most common reason for anyone to see a chiropractor, and for good reason. We’re really good at helping people with their pain. Properly aligning the joints of the spine and pelvis definitely helps one feel better, and when we feel better, we can be more active and do things like exercise, play with our other kids, and do all the things moms do, which is a lot! But there are actually other and better reasons to utilize prenatal chiropractic.
Better Overall Health
What many people don’t realize is that chiropractic improves your overall well-being. Your spine surrounds and protects your nervous system; the two are so intimately connected that we cannot talk about them separately. The nervous system functions better when the spine and pelvis are better aligned. When your nervous system works better, your entire body works better. It’s that simple, and it’s why people under chiropractic care notice improvements in how often they get sick, or for how long, improvement in their allergies or digestive upsets, and even regulation of menstrual cycles and fertility. For that reason, all women should add a prenatal chiropractor to their birth team.
Better Management of Daily Stress
This is HUGE. We face stress every day. Being pregnant only adds to the worry we normally carry. Stress hormones that we release to help us rise to the challenge of stress can affect baby. Those hormones that cause us to have a one track mind, feelings of anxiety, restlessness, increased heart rate and more…they have that affect on baby too.
But the good news is that chiropractic adjustments help us better manage stress. They ease and calm our nervous system, so that we don’t so easily spin into a frenzy over things that shouldn’t be such a worry to us. This allows us to be more present in the moment and connect with our loved ones, including the little one growing inside us.
Better, Faster Labor
A common challenge in birth is dystocia, or cause for birth to slow down and stop progressing. There are three contributors to dystocia and chiropractic helps with all of them:
Power: The power a woman demonstrates in labor is something that leaves me awestruck. This power first grows a human from 2 cells, then births that tiny human, and then produces nourishment specifically tailored for baby. Wow! When a mother’s spine and pelvis is out of alignment, however, or when she’s under extreme emotional stress, her body reads that as a dangerous situation, and will slow or stop birth so that the baby isn’t brought into an unsafe environment. This is so amazingly intelligent! But a mother whose spine and nervous system has been balanced will better assess the safety of the environment and will shift that power to facilitate the birth process rather than inhibit it.
Passenger: Tension on the uterus happens when a pelvis is out of alignment making it more difficult for baby to move into the preferred birthing position, which is usually head down. You can think about this like your partner laying on the bed sheets making it more difficult for you to roll over. Chiropractic adjustments that align the bony structures and balance the soft tissues of the pelvis, help a mother’s body create the space baby needs to grow, develop, and exit.
Passage: When the pelvis is out of alignment, it doesn’t move as well, which means it can’t as easily open up to allow the baby through the birth canal. Prenatal chiropractic care helps you have a well balanced pelvis that allows for baby to move through the birth canal more easily.
A simple chiropractic adjustment helps with all three causes of dystocia, which helps those who desire a vaginal birth better achieve that goal, and likely with less pain intervention needed. In fact, women who receive chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have been shown to have a 25% shorter labor time on their first birth, and a 40% shorter labor time on their second and subsequent births.*
Consider a Chiropractor with ICPA Certification
Through chiropractic school, all chiropractors take a course on care during pregnancy. We learn about the benefits and the contraindications to care and what not to do. Chiropractors do graduate work with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) to learn the Webster Technique and to gain a more comprehensive background in prenatal chiropractic. My own experiences in pregnancy lead me to this certification and advocating that pregnant women receive care from certified chiropractors. This technique ensures an expectant mother is adjusted safely, and that she’s assessed and thoroughly adjusted so that she may receive all the wonderful benefits chiropractic has to offer during this incredible stage of her life.
Article and photos provided by Dr Stephanie Barto from Barto Family Chiropractic, 10101 Saltsburg Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15239.
Sign up for Dr. Barto’s “Top 3 Prenatal Stretches to Ease Back Pain” by visiting BartoFamilyChiropractic.com
* Fallon J DC. The Effect of Chiropractic Treatment on Pregnancy and Labour: A Comprehensive Study. Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic, 191:24-31
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