Pregnancy, while incredibly beautiful and miraculous, can be a very challenging stage in life for a lot of women and their partners. Whether it be challenges with falling pregnant, experiencing physical pains and discomfort throughout the pregnancy or not knowing how to tackle the pregnancy and birth, there are many factors to consider when it comes to creating the best experience for you and your growing family. In this blog we will focus on how Chiropractic can assist the pregnant woman in maintaining better function, movement and comfort during her pregnancy and labour.
Let’s start with low back pain. Over 50% of women experience low back pain during their pregnancy (1). One of the main causes of this is the structural adaptation of the body throughout pregnancy. The change in load distribution is an increased physical stress on the lumbar and sacroiliac joints and is a cause for subluxation, along with the displacement of weight. As the weight is carried forward it causes the curvature in the lower back to increase, greatly stressing the sacroiliac joints (1). Through Chiropractic adjustments, we restore better movement and function to the spine and pelvis, and allow your body the freedom to create better postural habits. A review of the literature surrounding Chiropractic and pregnancy showed 75-84% of pregnant patients who received Chiropractic care found relief of their low back pain (1). This same review also found that Chiropractic care during pregnancy significantly decreased the incidence of back pain during labour along with a 25-31% shorter labour time.
Maintaining the movement, function and alignment of the thoracic spine (mid back) through Chiropractic adjustments can also alleviate symptoms of heartburn, shortness of breath and mid back pain (2), all of which can occur during pregnancy due to increased breast size. The presence of subluxation (joint restriction and misalignment) in the mid back can also create difficulty in maintaining healthy posture. As previously mentioned, posture is something that drastically changes throughout pregnancy, so it is imperative to consider how you will maintain the best posture possible both during and after your pregnancy. When working with pregnant women here at Awaken Health Chiropractic, I always offer advice on stretches and exercises that will assist your body in maintaining the best posture and function.
Movement is key. Our body is designed to move and this means during pregnancy as well. Exercising during pregnancy can lead to a shorter labour time, less complications and a decreased need for intervention during the birth process (3). It can also reduce pain and discomfort during pregnancy and improve overall mood and attitude as well as providing more restful sleep and fewer mood swings (2,3). So what do pregnancy, exercise and Chiropractic have to do with each other? Whilst exercise has been shown to be beneficial to the pregnant woman, there are still cases where certain exercises are best avoided. As part of your pregnancy and birthing team, I will be able to guide you as to what movement and exercise is going to be best for you and your body at all stages throughout your pregnancy. I also have a passion for yoga and have extensive knowledge of various poses and stretches that are great for women during pregnancy. Yoga is a wonderful form of movement and exercise during pregnancy as it not only works on the physical aspects but also offers a great mind-body connection that improves overall quality of life and reduces stress and anxiety (2,4).
So, would you, your partner or someone you know like relief of their back pain during pregnancy and labour along with a shorter labour time and better chance of a natural birth without intervention? Add some support and guidance on the best forms of exercise, movement and resting positions for your body and you’re looking at a wonderful journey throughout pregnancy and beyond! Here at Awaken Health Chiropractic I love working with pregnant women and their family to guide and support them in having the best experience possible both during and after pregnancy. Please feel free to contact me for more information or to have a chat about your personal situation and how I may be of service to you.
- C.L (2007) “Pregnancy and Chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, Spring 6(2), pp. 70-74
- Barham-Floreani.J., (2009) “Well adjusted babies” 2nd edn, Well Adjusted Pty Ltd, South Melbourne
- ABDULLA, A., ABDULLA, F., (2004) “Exercise and Pregnancy” Middle East journal of family medicine, Vol 2 (2)
- K., et al (2012) “Systematic review of yoga for pregnant women: current status and future directions” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol 2012, Article ID 715942