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How Can Chiropractic Care Make Childbirth Easier?

By Genevieve Cunningham

Chiropractic and Childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth are a magical time in a woman’s life. It’s scary and exciting and life-changing. In fact, there’s really no other time like it. But the magical aspect of bringing life into the world isn’t without its downsides. No matter the circumstances, pregnancy is just hard. It’s hard physically, mentally, and emotionally. Luckily, we’re blessed to live in a modern world with more help, support, and solutions than ever before.

One of the best and most beneficial options available to pregnant women is also one of the most underutilized: chiropractic care. The addition of this practice into your prenatal healthcare routine may make a big difference in your overall pregnancy experience.

Prenatal Pain and Discomfort

There’s virtually zero chance of making it through pregnancy without numerous aches and pains. Some of the most common aches and pains reported by pregnant women include:

  • Back pain - Pain in the back often grows stronger as the belly grows bigger. To compensate for the weakening abdominal muscles, the lower back works harder. Add to this the fact that ligaments loosen during pregnancy and pain is the frustrating result.
  • Neck pain - Neck pain during pregnancy may be due to the fact that your heavier belly temporarily changes your posture, placing strain in new places. An inability to sleep, especially toward the end of pregnancy, and the added stresses of expanding your family may contribute to neck pain as well.
  • Hip Pain - The hips are greatly affected by pregnancy hormones. In order to prepare the body for childbirth, ligaments in the body loosen, especially the ligaments around the hips. This means pain for a lot of women. To manage the pain and lower the risk of injury to your hips, keeping them properly aligned is incredibly important.
  • Morning sickness - Some women who receive chiropractic care during pregnancy report improvements in morning sickness and general nausea. It’s thought that a healthier nervous system helps reduce this common symptom.
  • Headaches, muscle cramps, joint stiffness - The whole body is affected by pregnancy, which is why it’s not surprising or uncommon to hear complaints about numerous areas of the body. The best choice for pregnant women is to seek out consistent and effective care.

If you’re suffering with pain during pregnancy, chiropractors may be able to gently manipulate the spine, thus improving the health of the body and the nervous system. Chiropractic care during pregnancy can keep the body properly aligned despite the numerous changes, which means a more comfortable pregnancy overall.

Labor and Delivery Time

Perhaps the most intimidating part of all of pregnancy is that ultimate moment before the baby takes center stage: labor and delivery. It’s not uncommon for women to be nervous or even fearful about labor. The birth process seems straightforward, but it can actually vary widely between women, and even between individual pregnancies in the same woman. Some women are hoping for a natural birth, others are counting heavily on pain relievers, and some will end up with a cesarean section. Some want to be at home and others in the hospital. No matter what you choose, it’s important to be both prepared and flexible. How can you get prepared? Chiropractic care is a great choice for the following reasons:

  • Shorter labor - According to research, regular chiropractic care may help shorten labor times by 25 to 33 percent.
  • Balanced pelvis - Chiropractic care helps keep the pelvis balanced. This gives the baby a better chance of passing through the birth canal with ease, meaning a higher chance of natural birth without intervention.
  • Stronger and healthier overall - Regular chiropractic care may help all people, pregnant women included, to stay in proper spinal and bodily alignment. This leads to a stronger and healthier body as a whole, which can help before, during, and after pregnancy -- and in life in general.

Risk of Cesarean Section

In most instances, pregnant women look to avoid a cesarean section if at all possible. The process of a C-section is much more invasive. It requires cutting multiple layers of the abdomen -- the muscles, the abdominal wall, and the uterus. Recovery is harder and longer, and complications can arise both during and after the procedure.

Can chiropractic care help prevent a cesarean section? Not always, but it may be worth a shot. If the procedure is needed due to the baby being in a breech position, chiropractic care may be able to help. Chiropractors are trained in the Webster technique, which is a method used to create more space in the pelvis so that the baby can turn naturally. This is a method used over a period of time, so getting to the chiropractor early in pregnancy and maintaining regular visits is your best bet for this benefit -- and all of the other potential benefits as well.

Postnatal Aches, Pains, and Healing

Don’t forget that the pregnancy process doesn’t automatically end when your child is born. There is still another step in the process -- the healing step. New mothers have a lot of healing to do in the months following childbirth. It will take time for hormone levels to drop and level out. It will take time for the hormone relaxin to leave the body and for ligaments to become strong again. It will take time to lose pregnancy weight that may be contributing to discomfort. It’s a long, but absolutely necessary, part of the process.

And of course, there are new aches and pains that show up -- like the strain of lifting and holding your baby for hours, or the expectations that you jump back into the same workload at your job. Regular chiropractic care may help you through this process as well. It can help with the pain as your body changes back and finds a new normal. It can help keep your spine properly aligned and your nervous system functioning efficiently. It may even help with some of the typical post pregnancy problems such as poor sleep, mood swings, and low energy.

Chiropractic care can be your friend through your pregnancy journey. It’s a tool that can help you feel your best and encourage a better experience overall. It’s not a substitution for prenatal care from your healthcare provider. It’s not a miracle cure that will make the experience completely pain and stress-free. But with regular visits, it can help you create and keep a healthier body so that you can enjoy the pregnancy experience and the bundle of joy waiting for you at the end.

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