Chiropractic Care for Mama
Getting adjusted during pregnancy ... not "cracked"
I find this the MOST common question from mamas... "Are you going to "crack" me?! This is my favorite question and the answer is no!
There are very specific treatment techniques that are utilized during pregnancy to keep in mind the comfort and changes that go on in the pregnant body. There are many different approaches to treatment that don’t involve “cracking” joints. With my prenatal patients I most often use a technique called drop piece adjusting, that allows mom to lie comfortably on a pregnancy pillow while the table does most of the work! Mama's are often so surprised at how gentle the adjusting really feels.
How often will I need to come?
The typical chiropractic care schedule for pregnant moms is very similar to the frequency at which they see their other care providers (midwives, OBGYNs). For the first 6 months, 1 time per month is all we need to keep an eye on the pelvic structures and maintain their function and balance. During months 7 and 8 the optimal schedule is twice a month and for the last month leading up to delivery its best to check the pelvic joints once a week. Incorporating treatment like acupuncture in that last month can also be really helpful in preparing the body for labour along with adjusting the pelvic joints.
Reducing Labour times with Chiropractic
Research shows that with first time mothers receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy, average labour time was reduced by 24%. For second or third births the reduction in labour time, if under chiropractic care, was 39%. Other studies show that pregnant women receiving chiropractic care in the third trimester were able to carry and deliver with more comfort. Also, pain medication during delivery was reduced by half in patients under regular chiropractic care. Reason enough for me to get adjusted while I'm pregnant!
Webster Technique and Breech Babies
Many women seek Chiropractic care in the 3rd trimester after their doctor or midwife has discovered the baby is breech. The good news is there is a lot we can do to help align the pelvis and open it which may give baby the room it needs to get into a better position for birth. There is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment called the Webster Technique designed to restore the optimal alignment in the pelvis, surrounding muscles and ligaments to help prepare mom/baby for labor.
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) who certifies chiropractors in the Webster technique defines it as a specific chiropractic analysis and diversified adjustment where the goal is to reduce the effects of the SI joint dysfunction (the position of the tailbone(sacrum) and adjoining SI joints). In doing so the biomechanical (how the pelvis moves) function in the sacral/pelvis region is improved. The ICPA recognizes that in a theoretical and clinical framework of the Webster Technique in the care of pregnant women, the SI joint dysfunction may contribute to difficult labor (dystocia). Dystocia is caused by 3 things; inadequate uterine function, pelvic contraction, and baby malpresentation. The correction of the SI joint dysfunction/sacral misalignment (with the Webster technique) may have a positive effect on all causes of dystocia. The sacral misalignment/Si Joint dysfunction may contribute to the causes of dystocia (difficult labour) because of uterine nerve interference, pelvic misalignment and tightening /torsion of specific pelvis muscles and ligaments. The resulting tense muscles and ligaments and their aberrant effect in the uterus may prevent the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth.
In short… the position or alignment in the bones of the pelvis may affect how the uterus functions during labour, how pelvis moves during labor and how the baby is able to position itself for birth. When the misalignment with corrected with the Webster technique it may have a positive effect on these things that contribute to difficult labour… and therefore set yourself up for a safer, easier birth.