The thought of seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy may cause a sideways glance from some, but ask any woman who has had back pain, sciatica, or tried everything under the sun to flip a breeched baby and they will tell you that their chiropractor saved their life.
Just like how it takes a village to raise a child, I believe it takes a team to support a mama to be through her pregnancy -- and that can include midwives, doulas, OBGYNs, acupuncturists, massage therapists, nutritionists and, yes, chiropractors. Passing an 8 pound human through a very small space is no small feat and you want to be prepared mentally and physically.
Here’s 5 essential reasons why every pregnant woman might want to consider a great chiropractor.
- Get relief from your low back pain. A growing baby bump and swaying back can cause compression in the lumbar spine and sacroiliaic joints of the pelvis. Pregnancy brings many firsts but back pain that won’t go away is not one of the better ones. A good chiropractor will perform a thorough history, physical exam and movement analysis. A chiropractor can also perform an adjustment, which brings movement and alignment to the joints. They can adjust the pelvis, low back, and massage the surrounding tissue to help balance the pelvis, reducing stress around the uterus and ligaments specifically the sacrotuberous and round ligament. Not only does this bring relief low back and pelvic discomfort, but it also helps the baby descend into the best position for delivery.
- Stabilize and Align the Pelvis. During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone, relaxin, which loosens your ligaments to prepare the body for your baby’s head to fit through the pelvis. This relaxing of the joints brings instability to the joints and causes debilitating pain with walking, moving from sit to stand, and rolling over in bed. Chiropractors can provide exercises, stretches and an adjustment to optimize the alignment of the spine and pelvis to stabilize this area.
- Prevent sciatica. Do you feeling sharp shooting pain in the your leg with every step? Feeling numbness and tingling down the back of your leg to the foot? A growing belly, a misaligned pelvis, a growing uterus, and even the baby’s head in the third trimester can place extra pressure on the sciatic nerve causing these symptoms. A chiropractic adjustment can help relieve sciatica for an easier pregnancy and delivery.
- Prepare the baby for the best position during delivery. Labor can be painful unless you are in the 1% that may experience an orgasmic labor, and that was not my experience unfortunately. When you are pregnant, women love to tell you about her terrible back pain during labor or just a difficult labor (known as dystocia), which can be caused by a misaligned pelvis. A torqued pelvis can reduce the amount of space for the developing baby to sit comfortable, and lead to a less than optimal position when labor begins. Chiropractic adjustments to the pelvis and low back can help align the pelvis for optimal baby positioning leading to an easier and safer delivery for the baby and mama.
- Flip a Breeched Baby. With a balanced pelvis, babies have the best chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the worry of a breeched and posterior-facing baby can be avoided. Only 3-4% of full term babies sit in the stubborn breeched position and some may turn head down in those last weeks, some waiting til right before labor. If you do have a breeched baby and are looking to deliver naturally in New York City, good luck finding an OBGYN or a midwife that is willing to touch that with a 10-foot pole. I found two doctors in the tristate area that will do a vaginal breeched birth at $14,000, but most other OBGYNs will default to a C-section. As a mama with a breeched baby at week 38 who was committed to having a homebirth, flipping that baby was on my mind every minute of every day. Our chiropractors at Urban Wellness Clinic are trained in Webster Technique, a series of adjustments and soft tissue massage to align mama’s pelvis to allow the baby sit properly and with a high success rate to turn the baby head down. In fact, The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning head down when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique.