In 2020, a few celebrities made tabloid news headlines for two reasons: their pregnancies and their new schedules of yoga sessions. Pop music queen Katy Perry, an avid yoga practitioner, told US Weekly magazine that she had been spending more time on the yoga mat than with her husband Orlando Bloom. In early March, British actress Sophie Turner was seen heading to the yoga studio not long after her pregnancy with musician Joe Jonas was announced.
What Perry and Turner are doing is not a Hollywood secret; yoga has been recommended to pregnant women for decades as a means of reducing lower back pain discomfort and preparing the body for the rigors of childbirth. Along similar lines, many women are encouraged to visit a chiropractor once they learn of their pregnancies, and many of them continue going to the clinic after delivery, often taking their babies along.
Women who schedule both yoga and chiropractic sessions during their pregnancies will significantly increase their potential for very smooth delivery. With this in mind, here are five reasons why it makes sense for pregnant women to get chiropractic care:
The American Pregnancy Association Recommends Chiropractic Care
This is probably the most important reason because it is an endorsement coming from a respected advocacy group. According to the APA, the physiological changes brought about during pregnancy can sometimes result in spinal subluxation; we are talking about changes such as:
* Abdominal extension and protrusion.
* Awkward posture caused by rapid pelvic expansion.
* A sedentary disposition brought about by hormonal changes.
* A misaligned pelvis prompted by improper gait as the expecting mother adjusts to moving around with additional weight.
In addition to the above, the APA also supports chiropractic care as a means of reducing the likelihood of breech delivery.
Being in Good Hands
Like all other healthcare professionals, chiropractors are deeply invested in the well-being of their patients. In the case of pregnant women, chiropractors become valuable partners whose noble goals are to ensure a healthy term and a smooth natural delivery.
Practitioners who are members of the International Chiropractic Pediatrician Association specialize in family care; this means that they undergo training conducive towards providing a continuum of care. The ICPA training program offers post-graduate certifications in the Webster technique or in the care of expecting mothers. The Webster Certification focuses on helping pregnant women dealing with complications related to breech presentation; the techniques performed encourage the baby to adopt the best position before delivery. The full ICPA Certification trains practitioners to provide chiropractic prenatal and post-birth care.
General Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
The APA lists the following benefits as they relate to chiropractic patients during pregnancy:
* Chiropractic care always seeks to minimize the potential of a Cesarean delivery. There is a strong focus on promoting natural childbirth with minimal pain and maximum comfort for babies.
* Making the labor and delivery process as short as possible.
* Reducing the feeling of nausea when it is caused by lower back pain.
* Lowering the risk of breech delivery.
* Striving to improve the health and welfare of pregnant women by providing pain relief in a holistic manner.
In some cases, chiropractors are able to detect the potential of breech presentation during sessions with their patients, and this usually happens through anatomical observations. Let’s say a patient in her 32nd week of pregnancy complains of pelvic discomfort; if the chiropractor suspects that fetal positioning is turning towards a breech presentation, an ultrasound may be ordered to confirm this observation.
Reducing the Likelihood of Back Labor
A 1991 study of 400 pregnancies and deliveries in the Southern Ontario region found that 72% of patients who experienced lower back pain ended up with back labor episodes during childbirth. Regular labor can be pretty painful on its own, but back labor causes the type of pain that can result in doctors and nurses getting punched by the patients.
Back labor prolongs delivery because of its disruptive effect. Many women will experience some level of lower back pain during their pregnancies; this can almost be expected, but if the discomfort progresses into severe pain, the risk of back labor and irregular contractions will sharply increase. This unpleasant condition is often caused by spinal subluxation, which happens to be at the heart of chiropractic care.
Spinal compression actually refers to pressure on the nerves that connect to vertebrae. Pregnant patients will gain weight as the baby develops, but the distribution of these additional pounds will not always be even. When the weight exerts undue strain on the spine to the point of misalignment, back labor is almost guaranteed unless the issue is corrected well before delivery.
Chiropractic Postnatal Care
Women who exercised and went through chiropractic sessions before childbirth will likely feel great after delivery as their bodies readjust. On the other end of the musculoskeletal spectrum, however, we find new mothers who suffered significantly when their babies were born; these are good candidates for postnatal chiropractic care.
Postpartum sciatica is a condition that results from poor posture during pregnancy; it is often described as pain that emanates from the lower back and travels down the back of the legs all the way to the feet. In some cases, an overflow of the relaxin hormone, which is secreted during delivery, results in a prolonged weakness of joints. Moreover, when the abdominal muscles have not recovered properly, you can expect overcompensation to occur, thus throwing the spine into misalignment. Postnatal is quite common, but it should not last more than a few days.
Finally, pediatric chiropractic care can start soon after babies are born. This is not very common; only about 4% of chiropractic patients are under the age of 17, but there are cases when infants and toddlers may present issues related to subluxation. Babies who seem to be overly fussy when they cannot adopt a certain posture may have suffered slight misalignment in utero, and this is a condition that can be effectively treated with gentle chiropractic care.