Pregnancy & Chiropractic
Women & Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a women's life. It is just as important to be healthy before getting pregnant as it is to remain healthy throughout your pregnancy. Chiropractic is a healthy, safe and an effective care during pregnancy. A few conditions that chiropractic care has helped with during pregnancy are: headaches, neck pain, low back pain, numbness in legs, foot pain, morning sickness, and stress reduction. While you are pregnant it is important to make sure that your nervous system is also functioning at its optimal level for you and your baby which is achieved through chiropractic adjustments. As your belly grows, your spine and pelvis have extra stress placed on them. Your spine and pelvis start to extend back to gain more space for baby. Your pelvis is also starting to prepare for labor and delivery. Getting adjusted will help you accommodate your growing belly as your pelvis is shifting with baby.
What is Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic is a natural method of health care that treats the causes of physical problems rather than just the symptoms. Chiropractic is based on a simple but powerful premise: With a healthy lifestyle and normally functioning spine, joints, and nerves, your body is better able to heal itself. That’s because the spinal cord, which is protected by the spine, is the main pathway to your nervous system. It controls movement, feeling, and function throughout your body.
Your chiropractor has at least 6 years of professional training in the sciences and health care, including prenatal care, leading to a doctor or Chiropractic (DC) degree. He or she works to maintain your health and guides you in a personalized approach to wellness during and after your pregnancy.
What Causes Back and Leg Pain During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the increasing weight and size of the baby put stress on the spine’s three natural curves. As a result, changes in posture occur that can cause pain in your back or legs.
Increased Stress on Your Spine
As your baby grows, you carry more and more weight in front of you. This stretches your abdominal muscles. When you stand, the baby pulls down on the thoracic curve (middle back) and forward on the lumbar curve (lower back). The larger the baby grows, the more exaggerated these curves become. This puts pressure on the joints in the spine. It may also put pressure on the nerves, causing pain. The sciatic nerve can also become irritated, causing pain in your legs. At the same time, joints in the pelvis loosen. This helps prepare you for delivery, but it can also irritate nerves in the spine.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help?
Chiropractic care is a natural way to treat back pain during and after pregnancy. Your doctor of chiropractic is specially trained to determine the best treatment for your own needs.
History and Physical Exam
You and your chiropractor will discuss your symptoms, if any, and your lifestyle. Gentle physical orthopedic (bone and muscle), and neurological (nerve) tests help reveal the condition of your spine. Gently pressing on the spine helps check for tenderness, pain, swelling, and restricted range of motion. These tests are safe for the baby and the pregnant mother.
Special chiropractic methods, called adjustments, can help relieve your back and leg pain. Adjustments cause no harm to the baby and are safe up until delivery. During an adjustment, your chiropractor gently presses on joints in the spine. This relieves pressure on nerves and restores motion and alignment.
Your chiropractor may suggest other types of treatment to improve your posture and relieve your back or leg pain. These may include ice or heat, massage, or gentile stretching exercises. Your chiropractor can discuss these with you.
What Can I Do To Ease Back and Leg Pain?
Along with spinal adjustments, maintaining good posture, moving safely, exercising regularly, and eating right can help reduce stress on your spine and relive pain.
Practice Good Posture
Good posture reduces stress in the joints, nerves and muscles in your back. Keep your head and shoulders centered over your hips. When you sit, keep your knees level with your kips. To lift, bend at the hips and knees, not the waist. Then lift with your legs. To reach, turn your whole body, not just your head and neck.
Do Exercises For Your Back
Gentle exercises can help reduce back pain by increasing the flexibility of your spine. Your chiropractor can help you design an exercise program fir your needs. Be sure to do each exercise exactly as directed by your chiropractor.
Why Are Regular Spinal Checkups Important?
Even if you don’t heave back pain, having regular spinal checkups is one of the best ways to help prevent back pain during and after pregnancy. Giving birth is stressful on the spine. The extra bending and lifting you do as you care for your baby puts added stress on the spine, too. Your chiropractor can help you and your family manage or prevent spinal problems and maintain healthier lives.