Prenatal Chiropractic Care
Prenatal Chiropractic Care
Changes in hormonal balance are necessary to maintain a healthy pregnancy. It is
these hormonal changes, however, that contribute to some common discomforts
experienced throughout pregnancy. Increased progesterone levels create smooth
muscle relaxation, allowing for expansion of the uterus. Elevated levels of relaxin
cause ligamentous laxity. The combined effects of these two hormones cause
postural changes that may stress the muscles and ligaments of the low back, pelvis,
and abdomen. Consequently, pubic pain, low back pain, and sacroiliac joint pain are
commonly experienced due to loss of joint stability. Chiropractic can be utilized
throughout pregnancy to alleviate these common complaints. Gentle chiropractic
adjustments are applied in order to restore proper joint alignment and motion.
Postural changes can also be contributed to alterations in gait and stance. Gradual
weight gain combined with increased joint laxity causes these changes. As a result,
loss of coordination and increased risk of injury may develop. Doctors of chiropractic
are qualified to prescribe stretches and exercises to enhance proper posture.
Now, let's talk about labor and delivery. Two of the primary causes of C-sections are
cephalopelvic disproportion and improper polarity of contractions. Cephalopelvic
disproportion occurs when the baby's head is too large to pass through the mother's
pelvic brim. Often times, this condition can be attributed to improper alignment of the
mother's pelvis during labor. This misalignment decreases the size of the pelvic
opening and interferes with the progression of labor. This makes perfect sense when
you consider all of the mothers who have had a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC)
and delivered even bigger babies with subsequent pregnancies. Doctors of
chiropractic are trained to recognize even the slightest misalignments of the pelvis in
order to ensure an adequate passageway for delivery.
Improper polarity of contractions occurs when uterine contractions are not causing
dilation and effacement of the cervix. In other words, labor is not progressing.
Sometimes, this also can be attributed to pelvic subluxation. A subluxation occurs
when the joints of the spine misalign and place pressure on the spinal nerves,
interfering with message transmission to the target tissues. During pregnancy,
subluxation is extremely common as a result of increased joint laxity and postural
changes as outlined previously. Chiropractic adjustments are utilized to properly align
the bones of the spine and pelvic, reducing pressure that is placed on the nerves of
the sacrum. This allows proper nerve transmission to the muscles and ligaments of
the pelvis and abdomen and normal labor progression.
Optimal fetal positioning can enhance chiropractic treatments and further encourage
delivery near the estimated due date. The ideal position for the fetus going into labor
is head down with the body of the baby lying on the anterior aspect of the mother's
abdomen on the left side. Many modern positions that mothers-to-be find comfortable
hinder this presentation. For example, spending the last month of pregnancy in a
recliner or traveling in a car with bucket seats can encourage the baby to settle into
the posterior aspect of the mother's uterus. Pregnant women should avoid body
positions in which the knees are elevated above the pelvis and avoid crossing the
legs. Spending time on all four hands and knees or sitting on a birthing ball can
encourage optimal fetal positioning.
Studies indicate that chiropractic care throughout pregnancy may significantly reduce
labor time and the incidence of back labor. Research concludes that first time moms
experience a 24% reduction in average labor lengths.
Click here for further information on prenatal chiropractic care.