Preparing for a new baby is a very exciting time, but it is also a time that requires a lot of decision making. There are many things to consider, not the least of which is how to preserve the health and comfort of both mom and baby. Chiropractic care during pregnancy can make the process more comfortable, promote neonatal health, and lead to healthier delivery. There is much conflicting information in circulation about visiting a chiropractor while pregnant, so we have assembled some pros and cons about neonatal chiropractic visits.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
Many women experience chronic back pain during the duration of their pregnancies. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is a specialized branch of general chiropractic that focuses on gentle pressure to alleviate pain and improve the alignment of a pregnant mother’s hips and pelvis. While this can make pregnancy aches and pains more bearable, it can also lead to a healthier delivery.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy can relieve pressure on an expecting mother’s spine. This can reduce both low back pain and subsequent spinal pain in other areas. It can also correct the adaptations to your posture your body makes to accommodate your shifting center of gravity. While these changes are necessary as your baby gets heavier, the adjustments the body makes are not always conducive to a healthy mom or baby, but chiropractic adjustment performed correctly can make sure your alignment is optimal.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy can also help manage hormonal changes that are part of the process. Such changes can cause swelling in unexpected places and put pressure on your nerves, causing pain. Chiropractic methods can help alleviate discomfort from, as an example, pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome. They can also mitigate acid reflux and the nausea common to morning sickness.
To make room for the baby, when a woman is pregnant, her body releases a ligament- and joint-loosening hormone called relaxin. This makes the joints sensitive and tender, but the good news is that a chiropractor can be very gentle during adjustments and still see results. A chiropractor can also recommend stretches pregnant mothers can do at home to ease discomfort and relieve tension.
While neonatal chiropractic is certainly helpful for expectant mothers, it is also critically important for the babies about to enter the world. While a mother’s body shifts to accommodate the growing fetus, the pelvis can sometimes shift out of alignment. This can restrict the amount of space available to the baby, a condition known as intrauterine constraint. In the worst cases, this restriction can lead to birth defects, while corrected pelvic alignment can maintain a healthier pregnancy and reduce labor and delivery duration and discomfort when the time comes.
The Webster Technique
Dr. Larry Webster, Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, designed a specific chiropractic technique which incorporates analysis and adjustment to correct the balance in a pregnant woman’s pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments. The technique, applied during the third trimester, makes adjustments to the sacrum (the large bone at the base of the spine) and applies gentle massage to the round ligament at the center of a mother’s belly.
The Webster Technique ensures a growing baby has the necessary room for healthy development and to shift into the head-down position. This usually facilitates healthy and non-invasive births since it allows gravity to pull the baby down naturally when it’s time for labor.
Concerns About Neonatal Chiropractic
We understand that expecting mothers may be wary of neonatal spinal manipulation or other adjustments. The media thrives on incorrect depictions of chiropractic adjustment, and the process may not be intuitive for those unfamiliar with chiropractic techniques. Nevertheless, neonatal chiropractic care is effective and safe, safer than many other means of pain management.
Chiropractic’s noninvasive nature means that it does not utilize drugs or surgery. While ingesting pharmaceuticals can introduce chemicals into a developing baby’s diet, chiropractic care does not, and a chiropractor’s gentle treatments can relieve pain in a natural way. Neonatal chiropractic methods are a standard part of all chiropractic training, so all chiropractors will at least know the basics of the process, and some specialize in prenatal care.
The abundance of neonatal chiropractic research indicates favorable results with minimal risk, but of course we recommend that you talk with your obstetrician before scheduling a visit to the chiropractor during your pregnancy. Those who experience toxemia, vaginal bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, placental abruption, or placenta previa should not seek chiropractic care during pregnancy. Work with your chiropractor and obstetrician to know how frequently you should visit the chiropractor during your pregnancy. Visits once a month are common.