Pregnancy & Chiropractic: What You Need To Know
- Treatment Options • Oct 2, 2020
By Dr. Jessica Fitzpatrick, DC
3 Minute Read
f you are pregnant or are hoping to be soon, here is some useful information to help keep you pain free and mobile, as well as help you prepare physically for labour and early motherhood. If you are currently pregnant and are experiencing back or pelvic pain, you are not alone! As the mother of two young boys myself, I have been there and can definitely relate on a personal level as well as a clinical one. In fact, over half of women experience back pain during the course of their pregnancy.
The average pregnant woman will gain between 25-35 lbs most of which is focused on the abdomen. This localization of weight puts additional stress on the back, pelvis and legs. This weight gain also changes the centre of gravity and can significantly alter the biomechanics of how we walk, sit, and stand. I know most of us can visualize a pregnant woman extended backwards and waddling to get around properly.
Another factor to consider is a hormone called relaxin that gets released in the second trimester. This hormone is designed to allow the ligaments of the pelvis to expand to accommodate the growing baby and to prepare for the birth process. Where this becomes of concern however is that relaxin doesn’t just target those specific ligaments but rather all our ligaments which very often can lead to joint instability, sprain, and increased strain of the supportive musculature. This then can result in pain, limited mobility and difficulty performing normal daily activities.
The weight gain focused on top of the pelvis also creates pressure and swelling in the legs. It can also cause compression of nerves in the upper thigh that cause numbness and discomfort. This condition is known as Meralgia Paresthetica and is relatively common among pregnant women, particularly in the later months. Restless Leg Syndrome is yet another condition often experienced and is quite frequently related to the many changes happening within the pelvis and the structures it compresses upon.
If the pelvis of a pregnant woman is restricted or not in an optimal position due to these additional stresses and strains placed on the body, it makes it difficult for the baby to have room to turn to it’s proper position to prepare for birth. A baby in utero naturally want to turn and present head down and anteriorly. However, if there is in utero constraint, this often leads to a breech or posterior presentation. I am certified in a specialized analysis and treatment of the pelvis called the Webster Technique. This technique helps reduce the stress and dysfunction of the pelvis, sacrum and the uterine ligaments to allow the baby to have the need room to turn properly and to help allow for the best and least difficult labour. This technique has an 82% success rate, is extremely gentle and it does not involve manipulating the baby in any way directly. This then in turn decreasing the risk of unwanted or unnecessary surgeries.
These are just some of the more common conditions experienced during pregnancy however many have been shown to be very effectively and safely managed and treated with chiropractic treatments. I see many pregnant women in my practice and use a variety of treatment techniques including modalities such as Interferential current, laser therapy, soft-tissue therapy, and joint manipulation when necessary. Stretching, light strengthening and, in some cases, kinesio taping are also vital in effectively managing care. What is of the utmost importance is the safety of your baby and one of the most important take home messages is that this is a very safe and drug free alternative to managing pain and discomfort and the positioning and safety of baby are always top priority. Treatment during pregnancy has also been shown to help ease extra stresses and help better prepare the body and pelvis for the labour itself. The more physically prepared and in the least amount of discomfort you are in the better equipped you will be to have the best labour possible. Treatment also helps with the recovery process as being in the best condition prior to labour will allow the body to better heal and not be as susceptible to worsening and or new symptoms.
If you are experiencing any of these pregnancy related conditions or symptoms and want to have a more pain-free pregnancy contact us at Active Approach to help make this wonderful time a much more comfortable one.