Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

By Dr. Cynthia Horner

Chiropractic care during pregnancy:

  • dispels fears
  • stabilizes structure
  • removes nerve interference

There are many decisions expecting parents must make , one of them should be to find a chiropractor to provide chiropractic care during pregnancy. A chiropractor trained in the management and care for pregnant women provides information, care and support to encourage a drugless delivery, reduced intervention and prevent needless discomfort throughout pregnancy.

Fear begins as the medical world treats pregnancy as an illness needing a battery of tests

It starts with a blood test called CBC or complete blood count to measure several things. One is your hemoglobin and hematocrit, these indicate your potential for anemia or lack of iron in the blood.  A CBC also  measures your platelet count. In a traumatic birth a low platelet count means an inability to clot.  Neither of these are common findings in healthy middle class women but yet a standard tests. Another blood test checks for blood type and Rh status. This test is important, it must be known if a mother and baby have compatible Rh factors.

A urine test screening for bladder infections is performed on all pregnant women even if there is no history or symptoms of UTIs.

Syphilis screening is performed along with Hep B and HIV. Although Rubella is rare in the U.S. testing for it is not. This test will be positive if you never had Rubella or do not have evidence of the antibodies for Rubella. If you were immunized as a child the effects of the vaccination may have ‘worn off ‘.

A pap smear is done to look for precancerous changes in your cervix, many times a pap smear is followed by a colposcopy and cervix biopsy. The pap smear also is used to check for chlamydia, gonorrhea and group B Strep.

A glucose screening test is performed on all expectant mothers although it has been found that only 2 to 3 % of all expectant women develop gestational diabetes. In this test you will be asked to drink 50 milligrams of glucose sugar, then have your blood tested. I would not recommend consuming 50 milligrams of sugar when not in early pregnancy, the stress it puts on the body at this early stage of development is not helpful to a newly growing fetus.

Well if just hearing about all these test doesn’t instill fear of what problems could be lurking in pregnancy, having them performed on you surely does. A chiropractor trained in the care for pregnant women reminds and reinforces the expectant mom about just how capable her body is to grow and deliver her baby. Fear can be the source of pain and delayed labor in childbirth. Our bodies are designed be in either growth mode or protect mode but can not be in both at the same time. Fear puts a pregnant woman in protect mode and growth stops. Growing and birthing a baby is part of growth mode, failure to progress in labor is often simply the result of fear and anxiety. Empowering a woman to be confident in her ability to successfully birth her baby starts at the beginning of pregnancy.

Specific exercises stabilize structure

Working with pregnant women for years I have found two common structural problems. Whetherpelvis you feel pain or not you may have either a  misaligned pelvis or tight hip flexor muscles or both. Your pelvis is made up of triangular shaped bone called the sacrum in the back, and two wing shaped bones called ilium on either side. The wings of the ilium come together in the front to form what we know as our pubic bone and their upper side make your hips.

There are joints in your pelvis that create a small amount of  gliding, sliding and rolling to allow freedom of movement.  A  joint is where any two bones come together. Your pelvis has four joints, two on each side where your sacrum touches your ilium and in the front where your pubic bones touch and on top of the sacrum where the last moveable vertebrae sits on a disc on the sacrum. When a joint becomes misaligned it restricts movement and creates instability this allows pressure and uneven weight distribution to further misalign the joint often resulting in pain and or restriction of the uterus.

A simple exercise, shown, below helps maintain proper alignment of the pelvis in all four joints.

Stretch for pregnant women to mobilize pelvic joints.

This stretch will mobilize pelvic joints, It can be done lying on back also.

 

Targeting the iliopsoas and other hip flexor muscles in stretching exercises supports your low back and pelvis. Your iliopsoas muscle is anchored on the low back vertebrae and disc and travels down to attach on the inside of your  upper thigh. When it is flexed or contracted it pulls your thigh up toward your torso or in reverse pulls your torso down toward your thighs. Prolonged sitting tightens the iliopsoas muscle pulling it at its anchor on the low back vertebrae and discs. Your low back looses its natural curve,setting you up for more structural problems.  Gentle stretches for the hip flexors is illustrated below.

Pregnant women need to stretch hip flexors muscles

This is stretch will allow relaxation of the hip flexors or sitting muscles

 Removing nerve interference allows organs to work efficiently

There are times when the vertebrae and pelvis become so misaligned that exercises are not enough to restore them to proper alignment. Chiropractors are the only health professionals licensed and trained to correct misaligned vertebrae called subluxations. A subluxation is not a single thing but a number of things or events that take place in your body when a vertebrae loses its optimal alignment. First the vertebrae develops abnormal movement it rubs or irritates the surrounding tissue. This irritation often becomes inflamed accompanied by swelling, heat and pain. Next  the swollen tissue puts pressure on the nerve root, causing changes in the transmission of messages over the nerve. The nerves exiting between the low back vertebrae travel to the uterus, cervix, skeletal muscles , blood vessels and other organs that are vital to fetal growth and delivery.

When vertebrae stay misaligned for weeks, months or longer the muscles and ligaments that are supposed to support your body become overstretched or shortened holding them out of place. A common subluxation in pregnant women is of the pelvis. Ligaments attached from the pelvis to the uterus cause problems in the uterus when the pelvis is misaligned. A technique referred to as The Webster Protocol or Webster Technique corrects subluxations of the pelvis to eliminate restriction of the uterus.

The things you can control during pregnancy are: the thoughts you put in your head, and what you do with your body. Receiving chiropractic care during  pregnancy will result in a more comfortable pregnancy and easier delivery.

 

What my patients have taught me: “In order to be healthy people need to be educated, motivated and supported.”

 

 

 

One Response to Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

  • Henry Garcia says:

    greatttt article i must say… well researched and beautifully putted together… and those lil pictures along with the content were highly helpful !! =) …please keep up the good work and keep more of such articles coming in… thanks a lot !