Internationally recognised New Zealand research chiropractor Dr Heidi Haavik’s recent research highlights the power of the chiropractic adjustment improving the wellbeing of the patient. She stated that her research work “has been instrumental in building the base of scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy of chiropractic care in improving people’s health and wellbeing”. This is especially so during pregnancy where there is an increased pressure on the spinal structures and nerves.
Therefore improving one's health and wellbeing with regular chiropractic adjustments throughout pregnancy can assist in preparing the body to be stronger, more supple and as balanced as possible to carry the baby full term.
Adjusting women throughout pregnancy is one of the most rewarding aspects of chiropractic, because a healthier pregnancy may mean an easier labour and delivery and a better transition for baby into this life.
During pregnancy there are multiple hormonal changes and chemical reactions occurring both in the mother and the developing baby, all of which are controlled and coordinated via the nervous system. Now more than ever during pregnancy, a healthy spine and nervous system that responds immediately and accurately to changing requirements in your body is essential.
As weight is gained through pregnancy, especially in the abdomen, there is a downward and forward pull on the lower spine. This extra weight, combined with changes in gait and centre of gravity, can set the stage for backache and neck pain. Additionally, as labour approaches, the body releases a hormone called relaxin, which loosens ligaments. This may exaggerate the effects of an existing spinal or pelvis problem.
The positioning of the baby and its movement as well as expansion of the lower part of the ribcage to accommodate your growing baby can also cause discomfort in the ribs and upper portion of the lower back, whilst increasing breast size in preparation for lactation, and may create upper back subluxations.
According to recent studies, chiropractic care may result in easier pregnancy including increased comfort during the third trimester and delivery and reduced need for analgesics (pain medication).
In one study, women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labour times and subjects giving birth for the second or third time reported 39% reduction in shorter labour times. In another study, the need for analgesics was reduced by 50% in the patients who received adjustments. In addition, 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with chiropractic care.
When women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis function better. As a result, there is a significantly less likelihood of back labour (contractions and sharp pain felt in the lower back during labour).
Chiropractic care has helped new mothers become more comfortable breastfeeding (posture-wise).
Body position during delivery is critical.
Any late second stage labour position that denies postural sacral rotation also denies the mother and the baby critical pelvic outlet diameter and moves the tip of the sacrum up to four centimetres into the pelvic outlet. In other words, the popular semi-recumbent position that places the labouring woman on her back onto the apex of the sacrum closes off the vital space needed for the baby to get through the pelvic outlet. This delivery position is the main reason why so many births are traumatic, labour is stalled, the mom becomes fatigued and overwhelmed by pain, so the utilisation of epidurals, forceps, episiotomies, vacuum extraction, and caesarean increases.
Squatting is the preferred position—gravity works to help the pelvic outlet open to a greater degree. Therefore squatting during delivery has the potential of decreasing the use of forceps and shortening the second stage of labour than the semi-recumbent position!
As your pregnancy advances, your OneWay chiropractor will use special pregnancy pillows and tables with drop-away pelvic pieces, which are used to accommodate your growing belly.
We will also check for misalignment of the pelvic bones, the sacrum and vertebrae and spasm of the ligaments that support the uterus and help hold the pelvis together.
Contact us to discuss chiropractic care during your pregnancy.