Chiropractic Therapy and Pregnancy
“Should I or shouldn’t I?” is a common question asked by women regarding the use of chiropractic during pregnancy. Understandably, some women are unsure of its effects on both the mother’s body and that of the developing baby. The good news is that a thorough review of the literature shows nothing but positives about spinal adjustments, when done properly, during pregnancy. This article will explain the benefits of combining chiropractic therapy and pregnancy.
Doctors of chiropractic receive training in school with regard to treatment guidelines with pregnant women. For example, side-posture and seated positions are the most comfortable for spinal adjustments. These avoid the discomfort of pressing the belly against the table while lying face down. The adjustments help to relieve the back pain, often associated with pregnancy, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. And because the spine protects the nervous system, spinal manipulations that improve mobility and normal motion of the spine can reduce irritation on spinal nerve roots. The spinal nerve roots spread out with billions of nerves to every cell of the body, thereby affecting the physiology of the body’s systems: immune, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, etc.
Besides enhancing the comfort and health of both mother and baby during pregnancy, chiropractic has been shown to aid in preventing ectopic pregnancies (growth of the embryo in a place outside the uterus). The spinal nerve roots which exit the spine at the third lumbar vertebral level target the fallopian tubes where fertilization occurs. The new zygote must be pushed into the uterus so it can implant and develop normally from embryo to infant; however, if the smooth muscle in the walls of the fallopian tubes don’t receive normal stimulation from the nerves to push the fertilized egg into the uterus, it can get stuck in the fallopian tube and grow at the risk of bursting the tube and causing dangerous complications for both Mother and child. When interference on the nerves from the area of the third lumbar vertebra is removed by chiropractic manipulation, the fallopian tubes are more likely to function properly in pushing the zygote out of the tube.
Another important aspect of chiropractic during pregnancy is its potential to normalize the alignment and motion of the sacroiliac (SI) joints. The SI joints are between the large bones in the back of your pelvis. The two large bones of the pelvis are called ilia, and they attach to the sacrum (the central “butt bone”) at the bottom of your spine in the low back and to the upper leg on the sides to form the hip. The SI joints open up during labor to allow more space for the baby’s head to pass through for delivery. Here is where an excellent use of chiropractic is applied. Adjusting the sacroiliac joints not only reduces low back pain but also improves the pelvis’s ability to expand for normal delivery. SI joints commonly become misaligned through typical lifestyle: sitting for long periods of time (travel); uneven sitting, such as is sometimes caused by a thick wallet or object in a back pocket of pants; awkward positions of sleeping; jogging, weight lifting, and other physical activities.
After the SI joints expand to allow for the baby’s birth, they should return to their normal joint position; however, they often get stuck or offset in a misaligned attitude—one side rocked a bit backward and downward, and the other possibly ilium tilted up and forward. This is a common cause of low back pain in the mother, postpartum. Rather than repeatedly taking an NSAID to reduce the pain, it makes sense to get the SI joints adjusted. Indeed, solving the problem brings relief and avoids the potential side effects of taking medication unnecessarily. Moreover, if the new mother is an exerciser, she will have a more efficient gait and fluid biomechanics with a balanced pelvis.
Because gynecologists and physical therapists highly recommend exercise during pregnancy, chiropractic is seen as a useful tool to support that exercise by enhancing motion, flexibility, the nervous system, and indeed, the reduction of aches and pains associated with many pregnancies.
So, yes, you should.
Chiropractic Therapy and Pregnancy: What Women Should Know
Chiropractic Therapy and Pregnancy
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