I was recently pregnant. It was beautiful, magical and special.
It was also challenging on my body and mind.
Pregnancy is a period of extreme change for women and families involved; physically, emotionally, chemically, hormonally and biomechanically. With so much change occurring, it is common for pregnant mothers to seek out advice, assistance and healthcare options.
The number of women who we see with aches, pains, discomforts and accept this as a ‘normal part of pregnancy’ is overwhelming.
Common is not normal.
Chiropractic care is becoming increasingly more popular in women during their pregnancy, and at Rise Chiropractic, it is both a significant responsibility and immense privilege to care for women and families during their pregnancy.
With everything else to consider though, why bother taking extra time out of your busy schedule to visit your chiropractor?
The answer is multi-factorial.
1. PHYSICAL SUPPORT
A baby is growing and developing at an astronomical rate within you.
Yes, they are developing their senses, their brain and their organs (to name a few), but they are also packing on the pounds. They are getting larger, which means that you are getting larger.
In what seems like a very looooong period of time for the new mother, and a short time for the rest of the world – she is suddenly ‘popping out’ and showing that gorgeous baby bump! Which means that suddenly, the rest of her body needs to start compensating.
Your posture and structure are suddenly very different than they were a few months ago. It is common for women to compensate by doing the following;
- Sticking their belly out in front of them, by pushing their low back forward.
- Rolling their shoulders forward to counter-balance the above.
- Changing the way they walk, to take pressure off an area that may be causing discomfort (eg. Sciatica, low back pain etc).
This is a bad structure. There is no sugar coating it.
Why is it bad?
For these reasons:
- Our spine is designed to hold a very precise shape. One of the reasons for this, is to correctly support the nerve system as it flows from our brain to the rest of the body (including your developing bub!). When our structure/posture is not maintaining the ‘correct’ shape – this can put unnecessary pressure on the nerve system. This can then negatively impact the body and a myriad of symptomology can begin.
- Our muscles connect to our bones. So, when our skeletal system is in a poor posture/structure – then our muscles will kick into overdrive to try to ‘bring them back’ to a correct state, so to speak. We can start getting tight muscle groups. Some common culprits are – our traps (shoulders), hip flexors (groin/front of legs), QL’s (low back).
- Because our muscles are in overdrive, our body is exerting more energy than necessary. Putting all that energy into trying to bring us into an upright position, rather than saving that energy for other goodness (digesting delicious cravings, getting through the work day without vomiting from morning sickness, squeezing to put on pants that will hopefully fit)
- Maintaining correct posture (and even breathing) can significantly impact the pelvic floor. When there is a forward head posture, there is decreased movement in your upper back, leading to compromised breathing capacity and decreasing muscle activation in the abdomen and pelvic floor. This leads to “pelvic floor weakness, incontinence and prolapse because the pelvic floor muscles become rigid from lack of use” 
2. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Look. At the best of times, I am a pretty emotional person.
When I was pregnant – this hit a whole new level. I certainly formed a newfound appreciation for how understanding my husband can be!
In the first study of its kind,  343 pregnant women had some exciting quality of life (QoL) changes following their chiropractic care. These women initially sought out a Chiropractor for either musculoskeletal symptoms, wellness care, or for both.
It was noted that after re-evaluating QoL via a questionnaire – there were some pretty incredible changes such as;
- Statistically significant reductions in scores associated with fatigue, pain interference, and sleep disturbance 
- An increase in scores associated with participation in social roles 
Sounds like a pretty great improvement for QoL if you’re pregnant!
3. BIOMECHANICAL SUPPORT
During and following pregnancy– your pelvic floor becomes top of your BFF list.
I’m sure you have already read plenty about the importance of having a well-functioning pelvic floor. One that can relax during the birthing process, and also have a good amount of contractility.
A recent study was done on pregnant and non-pregnant women, testing their pelvic floor muscles. The findings:
- Chiropractic care can have an impact on pelvic floor muscles 
- Pregnant women who received chiropractic care had a greater ability to relax their pelvic floor muscles at rest 
This is important because –
Your pelvic floor muscles are integral to the birth process, and to the prevention of incontinence and other issues, which makes this an exciting piece of knowledge for chiropractors and for women receiving chiropractic care. Chiropractic care may actually enhance your chances of having a natural, complication free childbirth.  This is better for both mother and baby.
Here are a few added bonuses that have been discovered when pregnant women get checked by a chiropractor:
- Women who receive chiropractic care during their first pregnancy showed an average of 25% reduction in labour times. 
- Women who receive chiropractic care during their subsequent pregnancies showed an average of 31% reduction in labour times.
- There were two reports that showed relief of back pain in pregnant women who received chiropractic care during their pregnancy at 75% and 84%.
So many great benefits!
If you have any further questions regarding how Rise Chiropractic can assist you (or a loved one) during their pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to contact.
We also are happy to refer you to resources with more information.
Yours in health,
Caroline & Derek
6. Borggren CL. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2007 6//;6(2):70-4.
7. Fallon JM. Textbook on chiropractic & pregnancy: International Chiropractors Association; 1994.
8. Diakow PR, Gadsby TA, Gadsby JB, Gleddie JG, Leprich DJ, Scales AM. Back pain during pregnancy and labor. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1991 Feb;14(2):116-8. PubMed PMID: 1826921. Epub 1991/02/01. eng.