February 26, 2009 — The stress placed on a woman’s body during pregnancy can lead to many complications that, while not life-threatening, cause discomfort or pain. In many cases, chiropractic adjustments can alleviate pregnancy pain, decrease delivery time, and improve the baby’s position in-utero.
Anne Packard-Spicer, DC, a faculty clinician at Northwestern Health Sciences University, says chiropractic adjustments can balance a woman’s spine and pelvis for normal functioning of the muscular and nervous systems. This allows better maternal body function, which will have a benefit to the baby.
According to Packard-Spicer, when a woman’s pelvis is properly aligned, the uterus will be under less nerve and mechanical stress, which causes the baby to be in a more comfortable position during labor. Chiropractic adjustments can begin at any time and can continue all the way up to the day of delivery.
“Many women worry about getting adjusted while they are pregnant, but chiropractic is gentle and very safe throughout pregnancy,” says Packard-Spicer. “There is no evidence that adjustments have ever harmed a pregnant woman or her baby. In my 12 years of experience, it is safe, gentle, and effective.”
Packard-Spicer says that pregnant women who are experiencing little to no pain should seek chiropractic evaluation to assess whether they are experiencing any misalignments. Asymptomatic patients may not need to be adjusted, but should be evaluated on a regular basis during pregnancy. Additionally, women who are considering becoming pregnant should receive chiropractic evaluations three months before conceiving.
Pregnant women who are experiencing back or leg pain should be adjusted two-to-three times a week until their pain is stabilized, says Packard-Spicer. In addition, she says that women who know their babies are going to be born breech should receive chiropractic adjustments.
Packard-Spicer adds that in her experience women who have followed the above regimen have had a much greater chance of turning their babies around under her care.
After delivery, women should seek chiropractic care within the first 12 weeks, adds Packard-Spicer. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin circulates throughout the body, loosening the joints so that the pelvis can stretch open during delivery. After birth, the joints begin to tighten again. Checking for proper spinal alignment during this time may allow for the correction of chronic problems by allowing the spine to tighten in a normal alignment.
Source: Northwestern Health Sciences University, www.nwhealth.edu/nwtoday/index.html