Prenatal Chiropractic What You Need to Know
Pregnancy is an exciting time in a person’s life with lots of changes happening for a pregnant mom that may lead to the need of prenatal chiropractic care. The body is adapting to new stresses that will eventually create new life. These stresses on a mom’s body can have a direct impact on both mom and her baby. As a chiropractor I want to share the benefits that pregnant moms may experience if they are undecided about prenatal chiropractic care. Before I can get into the benefits though it is best to understand what the goal of NeuroStructural Chiropractic care is.
Chiropractic in Colorado Springs
As a Chiropractor in Colorado Springs I like to educate my patients and those interested in the benefits of chiropractic and I always like to start with the basics and build from there. When looking at the human body we have a control center that sits in our skull, the brain; and our brain is able to communicate with the rest of our body through the spinal cord and nerve system. Without the spinal cord and nerve system the brain would have no way to tell the body what to do so the maintenance of the spinal cord and nerve systems integrity is vital to how the body functions. Our nerve system travels to every cell, tissue and organ in the body sending thousands of signals at a time without us thinking about most of them.
We don’t think about how our heart beats or stomach digests food and a pregnant mom does not think about how she will get nutrients or blood to her growing baby. The brain, spinal cord and nerve system are responsible for the maintenance and development of the human body and the brain stem, spinal cord and nerve system are protected by the spinal column.
The Spinal Column
The spinal column plays an integral role in a persons health due to its intimate relationship with the brain, spinal cord and nerve system. When the spinal column is functioning properly its goal is to protect the nerve system and spinal cord, deliver nutrients to the brain and flushes harmful toxins out of the cerebral spinal fluid which the brain and spinal cord sits in. The spinal column is part of the skeletal system which functions to provide structure, protection of vital organs, movement along with others. When the spinal column is shifted outside of a normal range it results in physical limitations including a lack of mobility and a nerve injury causing nerve inflammation which affects whatever organ the injured nerve is traveling.
A pregnant mother’s body is going through a lot of changes during pregnancy. Her hormone levels change and one hormone in particular, relaxin, causes the ligament in the body to relax. Relaxin is extremely important during the delivery of the baby, allowing the birth canal to open as much as possible. Pelvic ligaments just some of the ligaments that become relaxed throughout pregnancy.
Discs in the spinal column are also ligaments and become relaxed as the hormone relaxin in produced in the body and this can cause an issue during pregnancy. So many expecting mothers experience structural shifts of their spine due to an increase in the hormone relaxin in combination with the fact that she is also carrying more weight as her baby grows. These two stresses make it very easy for the spine to shift outside of a normal range leading to a variety of secondary conditions. These secondary conditions are the result of a structural shifts that directly causes nerve inflammation.
The goal of Prenatal Chiropractic care is to balance and correct structural shifts of the pelvis and spinal column creating optimal space for the fetus to develop and removing nerve inflammation, allowing the body to function optimally. For most moms establishing a balanced pelvic alignment is one of the main reasons they see a chiropractor for prenatal chiropractic care. When the pelvis is misaligned the amount of room available for a developing baby is restricted.
This in turn can make it difficult for a baby to get into the best possible position for delivery. The other major reason that a pregnant mother may seek prenatal care is because she understands that the brain and nerve system is the master communication system to the entire body, including the reproductive system; it is for this reason alone that many expecting mothers seek chiropractic care. Other reason include Sciatic Nerve Pain treatment, reduced back and neck pain and to prevent a potential Cesarean delivery.
The Webster Technique
Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association developed a system for analyzing and adjusting the pelvis which establishes a balanced pelvis for pregnant moms. This technique has been used to reduce the stress placed on the uterus and supporting ligaments. This technique is used with pregnant moms who have a baby that is in a breeched presentation. Most clinicians do not concern themselves if the baby is breeched until the mother is 37 weeks pregnant but when the baby is breeched at this point there is an 82% success rate in the baby turning vertex (optimal position) when doctors of chiropractic use the Webster technique.
Labor & Delivery
Prenatal chiropractic care has been shown to benefit pregnant moms by decreasing the time that a mother spends in labor by 24% for first time moms and 39% reduction for moms having their second or third babies (1). How many moms would have loved to know that before they had their first child? If you know of someone who is pregnant and is looking for ways to decrease their labor time, recommending prenatal chiropractic care is a good option.
When a mom becomes pregnant her body is put under massive amounts of stress causing her body to change. This stress doesn’t stop after the baby is born. Post partum patients face challenges with their body returning to normal. A mother should perform rehabilitative exercises to strengthen her core muscles and chiropractic care can benefit these individuals. As the body is recovering from the stresses of labor it wants to heal itself. Making sure that the nerve system is free from nerve inflammation will enable to body to heal properly. If the messages from the brain are not sent to the damaged tissues then those areas of the body will take longer to heal and may lead to secondary conditions caused by structural shifts of the spine.
Prenatal Chiropractic Adjustments
Chiropractic treatment for pregnant moms is different from adjusting a non-pregnant person. One of the advantages of being pregnant is that the adjustments are comparatively easy allowing the gentlest of techniques to be used. This is in part due to the ligament laxity caused by the hormone relaxin. Prenatal chiropractic care also differs because the positioning of a pregnant patient is different than that of a non-pregnant patient. Different tables are used to allow and accommodate for a mothers baby bump allowing for comfort and relaxation allowing for an effective adjustment.
If you or someone you know is looking for a Chiropractor in Colorado Springs who can offer prenatal chiropractic care, share this information with them. Dr. Al Simeone at Powers Chiropractic Group uses objective measurements to identify structural shifts that directly cause nerve inflammation, helping his patients .
- Pettigrew J. Utilizing chiropractic for optimal pregnancy and birth outcomes. Midwifery Today with International Midwife. 2014 Summer; (110):56-57.