It's always exciting when you find out you're expecting a new family member. But, it also comes with some challenges like dealing with back pain. That's why chiropractic care can be helpful for mommies-to-be!
You might not even realize your spine is misaligned until the pregnancy starts to take its toll on your body and these problems start to surface in more than one way (like through lower backaches) or if they've been a chronic issue before the baby was conceived, like sciatica or leg numbness.
Chiropractors are trained to help alleviate these problems by adjusting and realigning all that has shifted during pregnancy so that both mother and child can feel comfortable and safe throughout those nine precious months.
You Don’t Have To Be In Pain All The Time
Many expectant mothers have been adopting the 'grin and bear it' attitude to either not worry their spouses or their families, leaving them to cope with aches and discomforts during the gestation period. According to a research study, approximately half of pregnant women experience back pain during pregnancy, while 50% to 75% experience backaches during labor.
However, only less than a quarter of them seek consultation with healthcare professionals to address these issues. But those few that did seek medical aid most opted for alternative therapies during their gestation periods, with pregnancy chiropractic care as the third most preferred form of natural treatment behind massage and yoga.
Chiropractic practices have included the care of pregnant patients to ensure a comfortable gestation period, helping them facilitate uncomplicated labor or delivery for the mother and the baby's safety. Although soon-to-be mothers that seek chiropractic care are still sparse, they're slowly growing. That's because more mothers are now seeing the massive benefits and convenience that it can give them.
Having regular chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy provides a safe and effective relief for a pregnant woman's strained muscles and joints that get pulled in vast directions by the developing baby.
Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy
But before you seek chiropractic treatment, it pays to know what's causing pregnant women to experience debilitating pain and aches on their lower back to either know when to seek medical attention or how to prevent it.
Here are the different causes of back pain during the 9-month long gestational period.
- Structure Adaptation - When a pregnant woman reaches the 7-month mark, structural adaptation inside their body happens to provide more space to the developing baby, making it a contributory source of low back pain throughout their pregnancy. These changes can also affect your spinal column. It involves the load distributions within the motion segments of the spine and sacroiliac joints (located between the sacrum and the ilium bones of the pelvis), leading to pain.
- Pressure on the Uterus - Traction or stress around the uterus area and other surrounding areas, including the rectum and pelvic structures, can also cause pain.
- Sudden Weight Gain - Although a female's sacrum is large enough to enable fetal carriage, the sudden weight changes drastically place more stress on the sacroiliac joints in a woman's pelvis, causing lower back pain.
- Changes in Hormonal Balance - A pregnant woman experiences a sudden change in their hormonal production, increasing progesterone, estrogen, and relaxing throughout pregnancy. These increases can cause pelvic hypermobility (increased chances of the pelvic joints moving or getting stuck in an improper position). This condition can cause degradation in spinal stabilization, leading to debilitating pain.
- Strenuous Activity - If a pregnant woman does physically strenuous work or any activity during their gestation, it can cause back pain.
All these factors can contribute to a pregnant patient experiencing back pain, leading several patients to seek chiropractic care to alleviate discomfort and pain.
Is Seeing a Chiropractor Safe During Pregnancy?
Receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy is relatively safe as it doesn't involve medication or surgery. It's a form of physical therapy that helps reduce spinal nerve stress and promotes better health and overall well-being. Over a million chiropractic adjustments are given every day worldwide, with complications being rare.
While most licensed chiropractors receive brief training related to prenatal care, some specialize in this field, and you can always ask them if they specialize in the area or ask your doctor for a referral. To provide chiropractic adjustments, chiropractors typically use chiropractic adjusting tables to accommodate their growing stomachs.
Chiropractors will not use pressure on your abdomen and will show you stretches that you can do to relieve tension or stress on your back, easing pain and overall discomfort. Although chiropractic care during pregnancy is relatively safe, there are still circumstances where it can be unsafe. That's why before receiving chiropractic treatment, it's best to get your doctor's approval.
Physicians will not recommend getting chiropractic treatment if you're experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding, abruption on the placenta, ectopic pregnancy, or moderate to severe toxemia (a mix of hypertension, albuminuria, and edema).
How Chiropractic Care Can Help During Pregnancy
During gestation, the female body undergoes numerous physiological, physical, and mental changes that adjust their bodies to create the healthiest possible environment for a developing baby. Although most of the time, these only cause temporary pain and general discomfort, sometimes it can place women at risk of experiencing more prolonged labor or complicated delivery, breech birth, or emergency C-section delivery.
A chiropractor can help ease pain and prevent any complication from happening by using chiropractic techniques and methods, reducing some pregnancy symptoms, and assisting expecting mothers to benefit from happier, healthier, and better pregnancies or birth outcomes.
Here are the different benefits that come with chiropractic care during pregnancy.
Healthier Spine and Relieving Back Pain
During pregnancy, a female's body will release a hormone called the 'relaxin,' which is responsible for loosening ligaments supporting a woman's pelvis. This state allows a woman's pelvis to widen to let the baby pass through the birth canal with ease. However, it also affects other body parts, resulting in a 'loosened' overall body structure, leading to spinal misalignments that cause muscle spasms, nerve sensitivity, and pain.
During the first trimester or beyond, pregnancy chiropractic adjustments can help restore these misalignments, maintaining a balanced and healthy spine throughout the gestational period. A functional spinal column supports the body to make natural adjustments when a mother gains weight, reducing complications and back pain.
Nausea, dizziness, or morning sickness are common pregnancy symptoms that can be extremely uncomfortable and challenging to endure throughout the first trimester. Chiropractors can help reduce nausea and vomiting by making adjustments to your spine to restore its optimal position, improving your overall nervous system function. These realignments allow your hormones to produce at a healthier rate, reducing the severity of your nausea or even eliminating it.
However, if you think your nausea isn't because of pregnancy and is either due to constipation or heartburn, chiropractic treatment can also improve digestive issues, reducing nausea.
Optimal Baby Positioning
A baby that's not in the right position to be delivered head first during labor is known to be in the breech position,' leading to severe complications, challenging vaginal delivery, cord prolapse, or an emergency C-section delivery. Having chiropractic therapy during pregnancy helps a pregnant patient maintain a healthy pelvic balance, allowing your baby to have enough room to move head-first in the ideal delivery position.
The best time to visit a chiropractor during pregnancy is when you're at your 8-month period to prevent breech presentation and allow your baby to achieve optimal positioning.
Smoother Labor and Delivery
Having short labor or delivery without any pain or complications is the ideal way to bring your baby into this world, rather than painful and long hours of waiting to get into labor or a prolonged birthing process. Regular chiropractic adjustments throughout your gestation period can help ensure your spine, hips, and pelvis are correctly aligned, allowing your nerves to work correctly. These nerves are responsible for controlling a pregnant patient's contractions and dilating their cervix during labor or delivery.
Optimal nerve health can provide a faster, smoother, and more comfortable delivery or labor, minus the pain and discomfort. Women who want to have a natural childbirth without medications can significantly benefit from having regular chiropractic care during pregnancy, simplifying and improving their birthing experience.
Better and Healthier Overall Pregnancy
Chiropractic care aims to remove nerve obstructions in the spine that may be preventing a pregnant patient's organs and immune system from functioning at ideal levels, which can lead to complications during the later stages of gestation.
Besides that, the stronger and healthier your immune system is, your baby will have the same ideal immune system function at the time of birth. Visiting a chiropractor during pregnancy can contribute to the better and improved overall health of your baby and yourself while reducing unwanted symptoms, allowing you to experience a safer, smoother, and more comfortable pregnancy.
Expert chiropractors like Dr. Grindstaff also offer standard chiropractic treatments to treat headaches, back pain associated with overwork, neck pain, shoulder aches, etc.