Chiropractic Care: Before and After Pregnancy
Chiropractic care is an extremely safe, effective and natural method of maintaining overall good health. The nervous system is the "communication" system to all body systems, including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively. Ideally a woman planning a pregnancy will begin care prior to her pregnancy so that the pelvis can more easily maintain balance without the stress of the baby on her spine.
However, it's never too late in a pregnancy to begin care. Some potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:
- Relief from symptoms of nausea
- Reduction of labor and delivery time
- Relief from back, neck and/or joint pain
- Prevention of potential cesarean section delivery
Throughout pregnancy and childbirth, a woman's body naturally undergoes many structural and hormonal changes to accommodate the baby's development and growth.Gentle chiropractic care throughout the entire pregnancy helps the mother's body to maintain the health of the spinal column, discs, related nerves, and bone structure, while also helping to reduce the stresses and strains of pregnancy.
The pelvis structurally supports the uterus as it expands in size and shape with the development of the baby. A balanced pelvis allows this expansion to take place symmetrically. Chiropractic care helps to prevent even subtle imbalances that can torque the pelvis causing a reduction in the amount of room for the baby. Another potential benefit is the possible prevention of intrauterine constraint. Intrauterine constraint can cause restriction of the baby's position which may lead to spinal stress in both mother and baby. During the third trimester the baby naturally repositions itself to the head-down position. It is particularly beneficial to have the pelvis and spine balanced to facilitate that process.
Imbalances in the pelvis and spine also cause interference in the nervous system which decreases the communication between the nerves of the spinal cord to the coordinating tissues and organs. Optimal communication during labor will facilitate the nerves that signal the uterus to contract properly, and may also help reduce pain.
The birthing process, even under the most ideal conditions, is physically and emotionally stressful for the baby. Newborns should have their first check-up within the first two weeks of life. Subsequently, the baby should have check ups as he/she reaches developmental milestones such as lifting the head, rolling over, sitting, crawling and walking. In the first few years of life a baby hones its motor skills and will likely experience a variety of falls and tumbles. Regular check-ups will help to realign her/his spine and prevent future pain and dysfunction. Research indicates that chiropractic care for babies and children assists with the prevention of many childhood conditions including colic, ear problems, allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism.
Because a woman's body undergoes such dramatic changes during pregnancy and childbirth, it is also recommended that new mothers have a chiropractic check-up within two weeks of giving birth. This will help to restore the spine's alignment, promote healing of any injuries sustained in childbirth, and minimize spinal stresses.
The most important thing that you can do for yourself in planning for a pregnancy and during a pregnancy is to communicate regularly with your health care provider and your chiropractor. Seek options that support your body's innate ability to function, and find a team of providers who are respectful of your choices.
Remember these key points:
- If you are planning a pregnancy, inform your chiropractor so that he/she can outline a course of treatment to help you prepare your body for the coming changes.
- Be compliant with the course of treatment outlined by your chiropractor to help you maintain a properly balanced pelvis and spine.
- Keep an open dialog with your chiropractor informing her/him of any stresses or discomfort related to your pregnancy.
- Once you have given birth, resume your own chiropractic care and care for your newborn within two weeks of childbirth.
- Chiropractic care provides the opportunity for an optimally functioning nervous system which provides the very best in health for both mom and her developing child.