By: Dr. Emily Smith
Pregnancy can be an amazing experience as you watch your body develop to support your growing baby. Unfortunately, for many women the joy of pregnancy is overshadowed by pain and discomfort. But pregnancy doesn’t need to be painful. Chiropractic care before, during, and after pregnancy can help to alleviate symptoms and allow for your body to function at its best during a time when it needs it the most.
Chiropractic care consists of adjustments made to correct the alignment of the spine, which allow for the nervous system to function without interference. There are a number of different techniques available, but it is important during pregnancy to choose a chiropractor who is trained (Diplomate and/or pregnancy certification) and experienced in providing care specific to this clientele. This ensures that you will have the best possible experience and optimal results.
There are many reasons why chiropractic care can be helpful during pregnancy, however symptoms/pain are not required. Pregnancy can make pain management a challenge because many medications are either contraindicated or not recommended for use during pregnancy due to unknown side effects. Addressing the source of the problem and correcting it can eliminate the symptoms and the need for medications. Some examples may include headaches, heartburn, constipation, insomnia, sciatica, back pain, carpal tunnel, and pain with certain movements. Getting adjusted throughout pregnancy can help to prevent/alleviate many of the common symptoms of pregnancy and allow for a more enjoyable experience.
Posture is particularly important during pregnancy, and chiropractic care can help to maintain it. Ideal posture allows for the weight of the head to be balanced with the ears aligned over the shoulders/hips/ankles.
• In pregnancy, the weight of the growing chest and abdomen encourage the head and shoulders to slump forward. This altered posture can lead to headaches and upper/mid-back pain, due to the muscle strain of trying to hold up the weight of the head. Knowing this, and consciously correcting this posture, can help to minimize symptoms.
• The rib cage goes through a lot of change as well, as it expands outward and moves upward to make more room for baby. This can lead to pain and difficulty taking deep breaths if the rib movement is not symmetrical.
• A pronounced low back curve is also common as the body struggles to maintain forward/backward balance. This can cause extra strain on the areas where the mid-back transitions into the low back and where the low back transitions into the pelvis. Proper movement at these spinal areas can minimize pain and decrease symptoms of constipation and sciatica.
• The alignment of the pelvis is vital in ensuring a safe passageway for baby to enter into the world. The laxity of ligaments, especially toward the end of pregnancy, makes it difficult to keep the pelvis positioned properly. Simple suggestions are to limit holding/carrying of children on the hip, sleep with a pillow between the knees, and avoid crossing the knees to avoid any unnecessary twisting of the pelvis. This attention will help reduce complications during labor, as well reduce labor time.
Pregnancy can, and should, be an enjoyable experience. Utilizing the expertise of a chiropractor can help prevent common pregnancy symptoms and aid in making labor/delivery a smooth process for mom and baby.
Dr. Emily Smith, DC, DICCP, is a chiropractic pediatric/pregnancy specialist. Her office, Smith Chiopractic, LLC, welcomes pregnant patients and families at the Eau Claire and Menomonie locations. To schedule an appointment call 715-833-3505 or for more information visit www.myECchiro.com.