Pregnancy can be an exciting time. The anticipation of meeting your new baby is certainly a very memorable period in the lives of soon to be parents. It is also a time where the mother to be experiences a whole host of changes to her body, as it prepares for eventual child birth.
If you are already having chiropractic care when you find out you are pregnant, there isn’t much that will change from a treatment perspective for the first few months. Normal chiropractic adjustments can continue to be performed as they have been previously. Remember that the developing embryo is very small at this stage of development, and is located quite deep within the mothers pelvis, so there is no real likelihood of injury or damage to the developing baby.
Eventually, as the baby grows bigger, it will become uncomfortable to have the mother lying face down as she normally would for her assessment and adjustments. During this phase a chiropractor will often use different sized pillows with a cavity in them to allow the mother to lie down in that position with her hips and pelvis supported, while still allowing space for the growing baby. If this position can’t be achieved (and this would only apply quite late in the pregnancy), then alternative positions and techniques can be utilised for assessment of the woman’s spine and pelvis, and the corresponding adjustments. If you have discomfort in your tummy or even your breasts when lying face down, please inform your chiropractor and they should be happy to modify the techniques accordingly.
During the pregnancy, a hormone called “Relaxin” will circulate through the body of the mother. This will usually have the effect of loosening the joints (specifically in the pelvis) to allow it to move maximally to allow the baby to be born. This hormone can also temporarily have a loosening effect on these joints before the baby is due to be born, and some mums report a feeling of weakness or instability in their spinal and pelvic joints during this time. If this is the case for you, then discuss it with your chiropractor, as modified adjustment techniques as well as providing advice on the use of support belts etc may be necessary.
Women who have used chiropractic care throughout their pregnancies have often reported less back pain as their bodies have changed during the pregnancy, and some have even had easier and less painful labours. Maintaining proper function of the spine and pelvis can have a positive impact on the overall pregnancy journey.
If you have not had chiropractic care prior to getting pregnant, then there is another important consideration. It is common for a patient to have a set of spinal x-rays taken as part of their initial consultation and examination. If you are pregnant, then this x-ray examination CAN NOT be performed, as the radiation involved may pose a risk to the developing baby. Make sure that you tell your chiropractor that you are pregnant, so that the necessary precautions can be taken.
In summary, your chiropractor is well aware that being pregnant presents the need for a modified treatment approach. Your chiropractor will monitor the progress of your spine and pelvis during the pregnancy, and adapt their techniques appropriately. Working with your chiropractor during the pregnancy can make the pregnancy less painful, the delivery easier, and the subsequent recovery faster. It is a safe and effective method of helping to keep you in the best possible condition during this important time in your life.