Chiropractic Advice for Moms-to-Be

The weight gain, the bloating, the nausea… Most new mothers will tell you that the aches and pains of pregnancy are a small price to pay for the beautiful bundle of joy they’re rewarded with nine months later.

But as many new mothers can attest, the muscle strains of pregnancy are very real and can be more than just a nuisance. The average weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds, combined with the increased stress placed on the body by the baby, can sometimes result in severe discomfort. In fact, studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers will develop low back pain at some point during their pregnancy. This is especially true during late pregnancy, when the baby’s head presses down on a woman’s back, legs and buttocks, putting pressure on her sciatic nerve. And for those who already suffer from low back pain, the problem can become even worse.

During pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity almost immediately begins to shift forward to the front of her pelvis, according to Dr. Jerome McAndrews, spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Although a woman’s sacrum— or posterior section of her pelvis— has more depth than a man’s to enable her to carry a baby, the displaced weight still increases the stress on her joints. “As the baby grows in size,” Dr. McAndrews explains, “the woman’s weight is projected even farther forward, and the curvature of her lower back is increased, placing extra stress on her spinal disks in that area. As a result, the spine in the upper back area must compensate— and the normal curvature of her upper spine increases as well.”

While these changes sound dramatic, Mother Nature does step in to help accommodate them. During pregnancy, hormones are released that help loosen the ligaments attached to the pelvic bones. But even these natural changes designed to accommodate the growing baby can result in postural imbalances, causing pregnant women to be more prone to awkward trips and falls.

What Can You Do?

The following tips are recommend for pregnant women looking for relief from the discomforts of pregnancy:

Visit the Chiropractor

Visit your doctor of chiropractic. Before you become pregnant, your doctor of chiropractic can detect any pre-existing imbalances in the pelvis or elsewhere in your body that could make pregnancy discomfort even worse— or leave you with additional neuromusculoskeletal problems after childbirth.

Many pregnant women have found that chiropractic adjustments provide relief from the increased low back pain brought on by pregnancy. Also, scientific studies have found that spinal manipulation carries no increased risk to the pregnant woman or her baby. Chiropractic’s non-drug, non-surgical approach to back pain can be especially attractive to pregnant women who are trying to avoid over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Doctors of chiropractic can also offer nutrition, ergonomic and exercise advice that will help you avoid the discomforts of pregnancy.

Chiropractic care can also be helpful after childbirth. In the eight weeks following labor and delivery, the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy begin to tighten up again. Ideally, joint problems brought on during pregnancy from improper lifting or reaching should be treated before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state. In addition, as the upper and lower spine return to normal, muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort and shoulder problems can result. Your doctor of chiropractic can help.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Stem Cell 101

Choosing a medical treatment for your chronic condition is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Although your pain has reached an intensity that has you desperately searching for a solution...

Real Risks of Back Surgery

Stiffness and aches in the back can be common, but when back pain becomes a chronic condition, the impact on your life can be unbearable.

Improve Your Joint Health to Improve Your Life

How’s your joint health? Many of us don’t even think about our joints, unless they begin to trouble us. When a joint or tendon becomes painful, however, it’s hard to think of anything else! How can you improve your joint health?