As a pregnancy chiropractor in Columbia, MO, I see the wonderful benefits my pregnant patients receive from chiropractic care.
As a woman who has received chiropractic care throughout both of my pregnancies, I am amazed that all women don’t seek out chiropractic.
In fact one survey reported that only 31% of respondents used alternative therapies during pregnancy, and chiropractic was the third most common form of treatment sought (6%).
I hope to summarize here why every woman should have a pregnancy chiropractor as part of her pregnancy health care team.
One study published on April 1, 2014 noted that lower back pain in pregnant women is so common that it is almost considered a normal part of the process. They estimate that between 50%-80% of pregnant women will suffer back pain during their pregnancies! Good golly, that doesn’t sound like much fun when you are supposed to be preparing for the joy of a new baby!
The pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs, which are common medical treatments for back pain, are not safe for the developing baby. So…
What causes back pain in the first place?
Structural changes women experience is one contributing source of low back pain throughout pregnancy. The longer you are pregnant, the more changes occur to the spine. As the belly enlarges, it pulls the spine forward causing additional stress on the discs and sacroiliac joints. The rapid increase in weight gain of 25-35 lbs or more greatly increases the stress on the same joints.
In addition, the increase in circulating progesterone, estrogen, and relaxin (hormones) throughout gestation, especially in the third trimester, brings about ligament instability causing pelvic hypermobility and creates a decrease in spinal stabilization. Basically, your joints get looser leaving you vulnerable to injury.
Any old injuries that your body healed the best it could may have left imbalances in the muscles of the hips and pelvis. When combined with the loose joints and increased stress due to structural changes is a recipe for back pain.
Traction, pressure or stretch of the pelvic floor, bladder, urethra, rectum, and other pelvic structures can also cause referred pain and secondary muscle spasm. This same mechanism contributes to sciatic pain from spasm of the piriformis muscle. Sciatic pain (pain in the buttock from irritation of the sciatic nerve) often improves with chiropractic care.
All of these factors contribute to back pain experienced by the pregnant patient, leading some to seek chiropractic care.
What were the results of chiropractic care?
The data shows that 52% of pregnant women with back pain were improved at 1 week. The results also improved as chiropractic care continued. The percentage of pregnant women with improvement in their back pain increased to 70% at 1 month, and 85% at 3 months. At 6 months, 90% reported improvement. This is why we often recommend care throughout pregnancy!
Reduced Labor Times with Chiropractic
A retrospective review of statistics reported that first time moms who seek chiropractic care throughout pregnancy have, on average, a 25% shorter labor time whereas multiparous women (women who have had at least one other baby) who seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have, on average, 31% shorter labor times! Sign me up!
We see this in our office frequently. When moms are adjusted throughout pregnancy, they are able to labor more efficiently and it’s not uncommon to have labors of 5 hours or less (of course there is no guarantee of this).
Assistance with Breech Babies
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique (a specific chiropractic technique which reduces intra-uterine constraint).
Other benefits reported by real chiropractic patients include:
Improved sleep, less nausea, help with headaches and migraines, help with pubic pain, help with neck and other joint pain, healthier over-all pregnancy!
Some chiropractic techniques may not be suitable for pregnancy. Pregnancy chiropractors will have a table that adapts to your growing and changing body and/or pillows to help make your adjustment comfortable. Pregnancy chiropractors should be certified by one or more reputable chiropractic organizations. The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association is the premier authority on pregnancy chiropractic. You can find a doctor here www.icpa4kids.org
If located in Columbia, Missouri both of our chiropractors at Family First Chiropractic are Webster Certified through the ICPA.