Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
Chiropractic care is a safe, effective means of treatment of symptoms that often arise during pregnancy. A common complaint of pregnant women is back pain, and as many as 75 percent experience back pain during labor. Chiropractic care is a gentle way of ensuring musculoskeletal comfort and alignment as the patient's body changes to become more and more weight-bearing. Studies show that pregnant women who make use of chiropractic therapy achieve a high rate of symptom relief.
As the pregnancy progresses, accommodations must be made to the woman's increasing dimensions. By the fifth month of gestation, it may be necessary for a special table, with a movable abdominal section, to be used. Special pillows may also be required to provide comfort to the patient's enlarging breasts. On some occasions, adjustments may have to be administered with the patient on her side rather than lying prone. Due to the increased pliability of the pregnant body, only gentle adjustments are normally necessary.
Benefits of Chiropractic During Pregnancy
Back pain is common during pregnancy because of the changes in weight distribution as the fetus grows. Increasing pressure on the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joints can cause lumbar back strain and pressure on the discs, the cushions between the vertebrae. The weight of the pregnancy can also put stress on the bladder, urethra, peritoneum and rectum and result in referred pain or muscle spasm.
Chiropractic adjustments can relieve pressure on the disc and nerve roots, stabilizing the spine and reducing uncomfortable symptoms. Studies indicate that more than three quarters of pregnant women who received chiropractic treatment during pregnancy have a significant reduction in back pain and related symptoms, as well as a noteworthy decrease in "back labor."
Studies confirm that between a quarter and a third of women who receive chiropractic care during pregnancy have shorter labors, with fewer complications, than women who have not been chiropractically tended. One of the reasons for this is that chiropractic care can prove useful in helping to reposition a fetus presenting in a breech position. This is accomplished by balancing the pelvis and its muscles and ligaments to allow more uterine freedom in which the fetus can reassume its normal position. The chiropractor never attempts to adjust fetal position directly.
Chiropractic adjustments provide other benefits that may include:
- More energy
- Less fatigue
- Fewer mood swings
- Less stress
- More restful sleep
In general, women who receive chiropractic care during pregnancy report fewer disturbing symptoms, greater comfort, and increased ease with their changing bodies. Chiropractic treatment is, in otherwise healthy patients, completely safe for the mother and the fetus, and its results are typically felt after only one or two treatments.
Contraindications for Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
While manual adjustments are considered completely safe during pregnancy, certain chiropractic modalities should not be used on pregnant women. These include electrical stimulation, ultrasound and any type of radiologic imaging. Moreover, pregnant women who are experiencing gestational complications, such as vaginal bleeding, cramping, pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy or toxemia, should not receive chiropractic treatment.
Post Partum Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is also useful after delivery, helping to rehabilitate the spine and restrengthen the abdominal muscles. There are neurological and psychological, as well as physiological, benefits to chiropractic treatment after childbirth that may help the patient to comfortably adjust to her altered body and her new role as the mother of an infant.