Being pregnant is one of the most amazing experiences that you as a woman can go through but it can also be a challenging time as you navigate a process that you have never been through. Not only are you watching your body change but you also need to make a lot of decisions during this time like where will you birth, who do you want on your birth team and what practitioners do you want to engage with. Then there are also the pains and ailments that come along with pregnancy that you have to navigate with over the 9 months.
One thing you may experience at some point of pregnancy is back pain and it is this reason that many women decide to see a chiropractor during their pregnancy. While we are a great option for this did you know that there are other benefits of utilising chiropractic care whilst pregnant. I want to share with you the top 5 benefits of seeing a chiropractor while pregnant.
Reduce pain associated with pregnancy
As mentioned above many women will experience some sort of pain during pregnancy. Whether that be back pain, neck pain, headaches, rib pain or pelvic pain – chiropractors are a great option to help you alleviate these pains.
A lot of changes happen within your body during pregnancy. Your spinal curves change as they accommodate your growing baby, your ligaments relax due to the changes in hormones and your centre of gravity shifts forward due to the weight of your bub. All these change the way your underlying biomechanics work and can lead you to experiencing pain or dysfunction in different parts of your body.
Chiropractors can help through a number of ways to help relieve pain during pregnancy. Manual therapy is just one way we do this. By providing hands on care we can help reduce muscle tension, improve joint motion and decrease stress placed on pain producing tissues. By adjusting your spine, we impact the nervous system which is your bodies main signalling system. When we have a well-adjusted spine, our nervous system is able to send better messages throughout our body which is always a good thing! A pregnancy trained chiropractor can also suggest specific pregnancy safe exercises and movements that will help your body deal with the changes it is going through.
Improving alignment of your pelvis
Undoubtedly the pelvis is the part of your body that has to deal with the most change during pregnancy. It starts to shift due to the increased weight as well as getting prepared to birth your baby. You will notice this the most when your walking pattern starts to change i.e. the pregnant waddle (it’s cute So don’t be embarrassed by it).
Having an aligned pelvis, in my opinion, is very important during pregnancy and especially as you get close to your due date. Your pelvis creates 2 rings which we call the pelvic inlet and the pelvic outlet. The inlet is at the top of your pelvis and is where the baby sits in as it grows and the pelvic outlet is down the bottom between your legs and in a simple way to put it is where your baby comes out. It is also important to note that your pelvis has 3 joints within it. There are 2 at the back between your 2 ilium (pelvic bones) and sacrum and one at the front called your pubic bone. With perfect alignment of these 3 joints you create the largest pelvic inlet and outlet possible. If you have restriction or a misalignment in any of these 3 joints then your pelvic outlet and inlet will be smaller than it could be.
Remembering that the pelvic inlet is where your baby sits it is important that it is as big as possible to give your baby the most room to move around in and get into a head down position. Most importantly remembering that the pelvic outlet is where you baby comes out the bigger that is the easier your birth will potentially be. Now I don’t know about you but I would like as big of a hole as possible to birth my baby out of thank you!
Pregnancy chiropractors have a big focus on making sure your pelvis is aligned by working on these 3 joints as well as the surrounding muscles.
Shorter labour and birth times
This is probably one of the most fascinating parts of chiropractic and pregnancy!
A retrospective review of the literature showed that women who recieved chiropractic care during pregnancy had a 25% shorter labour time when it was their first baby and a 31% shorter labour time if having a subsequent child. While these women were going to the chiropractor for help with their back pain it is a nice side effect of getting adjusted.
Think about being able to reduce your labour time by ¼ of its length. For a 20 hour labour that is 5 hours!!!! I think that is pretty incredible!
While there isn’t research to back this up, I believe this happens due to having a correctly aligned pelvis. When the pelvis is twisted or misaligned then the baby’s course through the pelvis and pelvic outlet will be more restricted whereas when the pelvis is aligned the course is more straightforward and smoother with no bumps in the way. It also allows proper motion of the pelvis which is very important as your baby makes its way down the birth canal.
So, while many pregnant women choose to see a chiropractor due to back pain, neck pain and headaches I believe chiropractic has so much more to offer pregnant women then just helping them with their pain. By using specific adjustments to help keep your spine and pelvis aligned we can hopefully help you have a smoother and more enjoyable pregnancy!