There are approximately 10,379 births each day in the U.S. That means there are a lot of expectant Mommies out there! Expecting a baby is an exciting time in a woman’s life. However, there are so many hormonal and physical changes her body will experience. Some of these changes will affect both posture and comfort. This makes sense because the rapid pace at which a baby grows will naturally change her center of gravity. It is normal for her body to adjust accordingly. Many women experience back pain and fatigue during pregnancy but there are a host of other physical challenges that can be in store, too. These include a protruding abdomen that causes an increased curve of the spine, changes to the pelvis as the body prepares for delivery, and misaligned joints. Chiropractic care during pregnancy can address these issues.
A growing belly can easily throw one’s pelvis out of position. A misaligned pelvis may cause a condition known as “in utero constraint,” or “intrauterine constraint.” In utero constraint is defined as: a condition in which fetal movement is restricted, often resulting in potentially adverse effects to its development throughout pregnancy. This can make it particularly difficult for your developed baby to get into the best position for birth, which is back-facing, head down. As many of us know, when a baby is not in this ideal position it can prevent the woman from being able to experience a natural, non-invasive birth. C-sections and other modifications to the traditional birthing process can have grave emotional effects on the mother. A 2019 study from the University of New York showed that first time mothers who had to give birth via an unplanned c-section are 15% more likely to experience life-altering postpartum depression and other mental health issues.
These pelvic misalignments can cause the uterus to twist and pull, tightening the muscles of the uterine wall. As we’ve already discussed, this means a restricted amount of space available to your baby. When the baby can no longer move freely, and becomes stuck in the wrong or unnatural position, it may cause compression or twisting of the baby’s neck and spine. It may also cause something known as back labor pain… sharp and intense lower back pain that happens during, and sometimes between, labor contractions.
Back pain is a common symptom of pregnancy mostly due to the belly weight gain that affects the center of gravity and the pregnancy hormone “relaxin” that loosens ligaments which normally provide support. However, back labor pain is experienced in approximately 25% of births according to various studies and is reported by many to be excruciating in nature. Aside from the pain, the other reasons back labor can be of concern is because it also increases the risk for prolonged labor, an episiotomy, assistance with forceps or vacuum extraction, and the need to induce labor. In a survey taken of 82 certified nurse-midwives, 94% reported that they recommended patients to alternative health care providers and 58% of those specifically recommended chiropractic care for an easier, less painful, and successful delivery.
Lastly, let’s circle back to the point that being in the best physical condition possible and focusing on total optimal health is important for so many reasons. Regarding this particular matter, making sure a woman’s spine and joints are properly aligned helps keep her nerves in ideal working condition. Nerves control contractions and also dilate the cervix during labor and delivery. Optimal nerve health can enable her to experience a shorter labor and easier delivery with less pain and discomfort. Chiropractic care hugely focuses on a healthy nervous system, So, if you’re expecting, we’ll be expecting you!