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Prenatal - Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Print E-mail

Why should I have chiropractic care during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, there are several physiological and endocrinological changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby. The following changes could result in a misaligned spine or joint:

  • Protruding abdomen and increased back curve
  • Pelvic changes
  • Postural adaptations

Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery.

The nervous system is the master communication system to all the body systems including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively.

What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?

Chiropractic care during pregnancy may provide benefits for women who are pregnant. Potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:

  • Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
  • Controlling symptoms of nausea
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Relieving back, neck or joint pain
  • Prevent a potential cesarean section

What about chiropractic care and breech deliveries?

The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which enables chiropractors to establish balance in the pregnant woman's pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments. This balanced state in the pelvis makes it easier for a breech baby to turn naturally. The technique is known as the Webster Technique.

It is considered normal by some for a baby to present breech until the third trimester. Most birth practitioners are not concerned with breech presentations until a patient is 37 weeks along. Approximately 4% of all pregnancies result in a breech presentation.

The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique. Further, the results from the study suggest that it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy when a woman has a breech presentation.

Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether. Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/chiropracticcare.html

Pregnancy and childbirth is a natural process with many exciting changes.

As a baby develops, the body adapts to compensate for these changes.

Gentle prenatal chiropractic care helps to remove the stresses and strains of pregnancy and balance the pelvis for an easier and safer birthing experience.

A woman's pelvis supports her growing uterus throughout pregnancy. When the pelvis is balanced the uterus is able to enlarge symmetrically with the baby. An unbalanced/misaligned pelvis will directly affect the way the uterus is supported. Subtle imbalances in the spine and pelvis are due to a range of physical, chemical and mental stresses. This imbalance may torque the uterus which reduces the amount of room for the developing baby and may cause intrauterine constraint.

Intrauterine constraint restricts the baby's position which can stress both the mom's and the baby's spine. The mom may have back pain along with occasional discomfort on one side of her lower abdomen or groin, especially with twisting or turning movements. This constraint may also prevent the baby from moving into the ideal head down position in the final trimester. Breech positions from intrauterine constraint lead to longer, more painful labours with a greater probability of interventions required such as external cephalic versions, epidurals, episiotomies, vaginal trial of breech and cesarean sections.

Imbalance in the pelvis and spine will also cause subtle irritations to the nervous system causing a decrease in communication between the nerves of the spinal cord to the tissues and organs the nerves are operating. A decrease in communication may lead to pain and dysfunction. It is especially important to have optimal communication during labour so that the nerves can "tell" the uterus to contract efficiently and effectively.

Dr. Larry Webster, the founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, developed the Webster Technique to balance the pelvis and assist in the prevention and removal of intrauterine constraint and interference in the nervous system. Many chiropractors are becoming certified in this gentle procedure due to its efficacy in helping turn and prevent breech positions. A recent study by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported a high rate of success (82%) in relieving intrauterine constraint using the Webster Technique, allowing breech position babies to turn to the normal occiput anterior position. This naturally facilitates easier and safer deliveries and helps avoid more invasive procedures.

Even in a non-traumatic birth, a baby undergoes a significant amount of stress both through the birth canal and from a c-section delivery. Newborns are assessed by a chiropractor in the first two weeks following birth and at each developmental milestone such as when they lift their head on their own, sit, crawl and walk. Over 50% of infants fall from a changing table or bed in their first year of life. Routine check-ups compensate for everyday tumbles to prevent future pain and dysfunction. Research has documented that pediatric chiropractic assists in the prevention and treatment of childhood conditions such as SIDs, colic, nursing difficulties, ear problems, allergies, asthma, bedwetting, ADHD and autism.

Postnatal chiropractic for the mother restores proper mobility and assists with any injuries experienced during the delivery which may cause pain or incontinence. This is an important time to bring balance to the spine and to minimize the stresses and strains involved with nursing and caring for the newborn.

Chiropractic is extremely safe, effective and natural health care for mom and baby. The best time to see a chiropractor is before conception as the pelvis will maintain balance more easily without the stress of the baby on her spine. It is never too late in the pregnancy to seek chiropractic care especially if intrauterine constraint or a breech position is suspected. Healthy moms for healthy babies everywhere!

References

  • Abroms et al. "Cervical cord injuries secondary to hyperextension of the head in breech positions," Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1973 41(3), March:369-78.
  • Anrig C, Plaugher G. "Chiropractic management of intrauterine constraint," Pediatric Chiropractic, 1998, Ch. 5 p.102.
  • Arcadia C et al. "Birth induced TMJ dysfunction – the most common cause of breastfeeding difficulties," National Conference on Chiropractic and Pediatrics, October 1993.
  • Bronfort G et al. "Chronic pediatric asthma and chiropractic spinal manipulation," J Manipulative Physio Ther 2001; 24(6):369-77.
  • Cunningham G, et al. "Dystocia due to pelvic contraction," Williams Obstetrics, 19th edition, 1989.
  • Killinger, LZ et al. "Chiropractic care of infantile colic", J Clin Chiro Peds 1998; 3(1):203-6. * Netter, F. Atlas of Human Anatomy, 1994.
  • Ohm, J. "Chiropractic care in pregnancy for safer, easier births", International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, May/June 2001.
  • Pistolese RA. The Webster Technique: a chiropractic technique with obstetric implications. JMPT 2002 Jul-Aug; 25(6) pp.E1-9.
  • Schneider M et al. "Atlanto-occipital hypermobility in sudden infant death syndrome", J
  • Chiro Res and Clin Invest, 1991 7(2):33-38.

By Stephanie Bonn

 
 





 
 
 
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