The ultimate goal of chiropractic care during pregnancy is to enhance physiological function in the mother, so that mom is best prepared for birth and baby has optimal conditions to grow and develop.
Misalignment of the sacrum may result in a tightening and torsion of the utero-sacral ligament, which can lead to abnormal and uneven tension in the uterus. This may adversely affect labor progression and optimal baby positioning.
Releasing tension in the pelvis, hips, back, and tissues surrounding the uterus is thought to relieve physical stress around the uterus, making its mechanical environment as accommodating as possible, thereby allowing the baby to align itself in the most optimal position.
Chiropractic care benefits for pregnant women:
- Prepares the pelvis for an easier pregnancy and birth by creating a state of balance in the bones, muscles, and ligaments.
- Removes uneven tension of the ligaments that support the uterus, which can help reduce abnormal tension in the uterus.
- Reduces pressure on the mother’s nervous system, which controls and coordinates all of her systems and functions, especially the nerves that innervate the reproductive organs and uterus.
- By enhancing maternal physiological function, we are decreasing the potential for unnecessary intervention.
Chiropractic Care for the infant:
- When the mother’s nervous system is functioning optimally and the nerve supply to her uterus and reproductive organs is working as it should, it helps allow for better baby development.
- Pelvic balance in the mother allows the baby greater room to develop without restrictions to the forming cranium, spine, and other skeletal structures.
- Offers the baby room to move into the best possible position for birth.
After birth, getting baby adjusted as soon as possible can help lead to improved disposition, improved immune function, and improved sleep. There is a massive amount of pressure that is translated into the upper neck and down the spine of the baby upon each contraction of mom’s uterus, and getting baby’s spine realigned as quickly as possible can reap lifelong benefits for the child. Research has also shown that mothers have lower postnatal depression scores when their infant is under chiropractic care.
Chiropractic care has been shown to help babies and children with:
- Sleep issues
- Trouble breathing
- Digestive problems
- Difficulty nursing (impaired sucking/swallowing or head positioning)
- Gas and bloating
- Balance issues
- Delayed developmental milestones
What to expect for mom:
Time is taken to perform a very thorough analysis of the pelvis and low back region. For optimal results, it is important that the misaligned segment is the one that gets adjusted. Every client does not (and should not) receive the same adjustment, and every body heals at a different speed. The process includes examining the front of the abdomen for trigger points too, as releasing these tight areas in front can also help create more room for baby to grow!
By focusing primarily on the regions that make up the parasympathetic nervous system, it helps stimulate our “rest and digest” or “relaxation” mode. Getting adjusted can help kickstart labor when necessary, and can also help progress a stalled labor. (To clarify: getting adjusted will not send you into early labor! It can just help the body start the process when it’s ready.)
Our office has pregnancy pillows in both large and small sizes to ensure a comfortable and safe adjustment.
What to expect for baby:
Analyzing and adjusting babies takes additional training beyond what most chiropractors receive. Infants are not just tiny adults! Their bones are still cartilage, and their fragile nervous systems must be handled with care. As babies have not had time to develop muscular compensations, feeling for misalignments is a very gentle process and takes minimal pressure. The adjustment itself is a very light touch – it is often compared to the same pressure that you would use when checking the ripeness of a tomato. Although gentle, the adjustment can (and very often does) have profound effects on the health of the baby.
Chiropractic Concerns and Pregnancy:
- No contraindications to spinal and pelvic adjustments through-out pregnancy
- No reported adverse effects have been associated with this type of care in this population
- One study found that a handful of patients had slight soreness after the first adjustment, and 100% had subsequent resolution of soreness.