Chiropractic or Osteopathic care in pregnancy is an essential ingredient to your prenatal care choices. Dr Marie-Christine Dix (Chiropractor), Dr Amanda Bailey (Chiropractor) and Daniel Thomas (Osteopath) care for a number of pregnant mums throughout their pregnancy, restoring balance to the pelvis and creating an environment for an easier, safer delivery.
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 joints:
- Protruding abdomen and increased lower back curve
- Pelvic changes
- Postural adaptations
Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic or osteopathic 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. This can affect the mother’s ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth. Breech and posterior positions can interfere with the natural ease of labor and lead to interventions such as C-sections, vontouse or forceps.
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 or osteopathic care during pregnancy?
Chiropractic and osteopathic care during pregnancy can provide benefits for women who are pregnant. Potential benefits of chiropractic and osteopathic 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 delivery
- Correcting postural alignment and relieving joint pressure or muscle tension
- Helping align the pelvic bones, which may allow for a more comfortable pregnancy
- Re-establishing the natural position and mobility of the joints
- Advising expectant mothers on postural, exercise and nutritional considerations
- Providing support and healthcare advice for the duration of pregnancy and beyond
What about chiropractic and osteopathic care and breech deliveries?
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, a specific gentle technique for encouraging breech presentation babies to turn. 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 (ICPA) 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.
Chiropractors/Osteopaths and pregnancy: Talk to Your Health Care Provider
As more women are seeking the benefits of chiropractic and osteopathic care throughout pregnancy, more health care providers are seeking trained doctors of chiropractic and osteopathic physicians in their communities to refer their pregnant patients to. Discuss these options with your health care provider. If they are not yet familiar with chiropractic or osteopathic care in pregnancy, ask them to find out more about its many benefits. Most importantly, seek options that support your body’s natural abilities to function and find a team of providers who are respectful of your choices.
How to improve your own alignment during pregnancy
Even if you don’t visit a chiropractor or osteopath, there is a lot you can do on your own to improve the position of your pelvis during pregnancy. Pregnant women should:
- Avoid one-sided positions and repetitive motions to one-side.
- Avoid carrying older siblings on your hips.
- When sitting, rock your pelvis forward and avoid long periods of time in semi-reclining positions, such as car seats and lazy boys. Your knees should never be higher than your hips and you should avoid crossing your legs.
- When sleeping, prop pillows between your knees for comfort. You spend approximately one third of your life in bed, so get comfortable. Use a supportive pillow and a firm mattress for spinal support.
- Avoid wearing high heels.
- Swimming and yoga are great forms of prenatal exercise.
Many midwives refer their clients and their new babies to us for chiropractic and osteopathic care.
Treating The Causes Not The Symptoms
Every pregnancy is different and your treatment will be specific for your needs. Chiropractic and osteopathy aim to find and treat the causes of pain and discomfort and gives strategies for keeping the pain away.
If you are experiencing discomfort or pain during your pregnancy then our experienced team at Align are here to help you. Call us on 789367 to arrange an appointment.
What is the difference between Chiropractic and Osteopathy?
Both Osteopathy and Chiropractic started life in the 1890’s in North America, but they had slightly different opinions on how manipulation worked. These days we have a similar level of qualification and legal status and cover broadly the same scope of practice. Chiropractors are also trained to read X-rays and MRI’s.
Osteopathic manipulation tends to involve gentle, repetitive stretching mobilisation of an area of the spine, for instance, whereas Chiropractic manipulation tends to be joint specific and directional and we may offer more “clicking” based adjustments. These techniques vary between practitioners of the same profession, and who is best to see really depends on personal preference.
A good Osteopath and a good Chiropractor will achieve similar results; it really is personal preference as to which techniques you prefer.