Chiropractors Offer Relief During Pregnancy
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), 50 to 70% of pregnant women experience low back pain. More and more women are choosing chiropractic care as a treatment option. As women progress though their pregnancy, extra weight in the abdomen increases the curvature of the lumbar spine. This causes pressure into the joints and can irritate the nerves in the lower back and pelvis. One of the common nerves affected is the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can cause radiating pain and numbness into the buttocks and down the back of the leg.
Another symptom that many pregnant women fear is back labor. Excruciating pain is felt as the baby moves through pelvis and pushes against the sacrum. The APA estimates that approximately 25% of pregnant women will experience back labor. This occurs when there is suboptimal positioning of the baby, causing intense pain during contractions. Pain is most common when the baby is head down and facing upward toward the mother’s abdomen.
Chiropractic care may help to reduce symptoms by gently aligning the bones of the pelvis and sacrum, taking pressure off of the nerves. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to identify misalignments of the joints and correction is made using chiropractic adjustments. During treatment, many chiropractors will use pillows that allow the pregnant mom to lay face down comfortably throughout the entire pregnancy. Chiropractors, who use these specialized pillows, will use pieces on the adjusting table that drop down when the adjustment is performed by hand. This is gentle technique that doesn’t cause any twisting of the lower back and doesn’t create a “popping” or “cracking sound.”
There are chiropractors that specialize in prenatal chiropractic care and become certified in the Webster Technique for pregnancy by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). This technique aligns the sacrum as well as helps to reduce tension in the ligaments of the uterus. This technique helps to open the space in the pelvis and allows the baby to drop head down into the best position for birth.
Case studies indicate that prenatal chiropractic care may: decrease pregnancy related back pain, reduce labor and delivery time, improve fetal positioning, and even decrease symptoms of morning sickness and hormonal related headaches. They also indicate that women diagnosed with breech presentations have had babies turn to a head down position following treatment with the Webster Technique. To find more information on prenatal chiropractic care and research visit www.icpa4kids.org
Amy Gamerdinger Jeffers, DC, CACCP
Originally Published in Her Impressions Magazine 2013