Prepare your office with chiropractor tables to provide care for expecting mothers
Pregnancy and the postpartum period is a very exciting and rewarding time, depending on the ease of pregnancy, for most women. Carrying, delivering and then nurturing a newborn infant can provide many opportunities for maternal and infant bonding.
Even so, a woman’s body undergoes tremendous changes during pregnancy and immediately afterward that may well be not-so-exciting or rewarding. A number of changes happen to a woman’s body that can result in pain, difficulty sleeping and even depression. Extensive research has shown that chiropractic care during both pregnancy and the postpartum period can alleviate many of these issues. However, it is extremely important to treat these patients carefully, so as not to harm either the mother or the fetus. This is why it is important to have proper equipment, such as chiropractor table options and pillows, that are meant to accommodate both pregnant and postpartum women.
What are some of the unique needs of these women, and how can specialized equipment help you treat these women effectively and safely?
Pregnancy and postpartum issues
Pregnant women dramatically change their posture during the second trimester to accommodate for the expanding abdomen and the weight of the fetus. , As the fetus grows, the abdomen protrudes further forward, which makes the lumbar region of the back curve and the pelvis tilt.
Such changes may lead to lower back, pelvic, knee and ankle pain. At the same time, the weight of the fetus may press against the sciatic nerve, causing pain down the back of the legs. Other issues may involve edema, or swelling in the feet and ankles, as well as the fetus not being in the proper position for delivery. 1,2
In the postpartum period, women may have stretched or torn ligaments and tendons in the pelvic region, particularly if they underwent a difficult, prolonged delivery, or required either a cesarean or an episiotomy. 1,2 Their abdominal muscles may still be sore and overstretched as a result of not fully regaining their pre-pregnancy tone. These women may also have poor posture as a result of neck and shoulder pain related to breastfeeding or using infant carriers, as well as hip pain from carrying the baby on one hip. Finally, one of the biggest issues women face is postpartum depression. ,
Specialized tables and equipment
You would not have a patient lie in the prone position on a standard chiropractic treatment table once they have gotten to the second trimester of pregnancy, as a prone position can even be difficult for a postpartum woman if she has recently delivered — particularly if she underwent either a cesarean or an episiotomy. If this is the case, you still have several options to treat these patients.
The easiest solution is to use a chiropractic chair. This will allow you to treat the back, hips, shoulders and neck, without placing any pressure on the abdominal area. The one drawback is that it can be difficult to perform adjustments along the buttocks, legs, knees or feet with a patient in a chair. Obviously, using a table will allow you to treat the lower extremities. A drop table is an excellent choice, as simply dropping the middle section is all that is required to accommodate the needs of your pregnant and postpartum patients. If you do not have a drop chiropractor table, there are special cushions with cut-outs or depressions that can be placed over the table itself to provide proper support for the breasts and abdomen and provide relief.
Shawn Kelley, a Minnesota native, was experiencing a difficult pregnancy when she started having contractions at 22 weeks after experiencing severe back pain and was confined to bed rest and drugs to alleviate the discomfort. She decided to see her local chiropractor, who, with a few gentle sessions of manipulation, had her up and about again.
“It’s amazing,” Kelley told WebMD. “I’ll go in, she does some adjustments, and within an hour or two, everything opens up. The baby moves up, I don’t feel as much pressure, and the back pain goes away.”
As exciting as pregnancy and the postpartum period can be, they do not come without a physical cost in a number of ways. Fortunately, proper chiropractic care can help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort associated with both periods in a woman’s life. Having the proper chiropractic equipment allows you to treat these patients both effectively and safely.
TINA BEYCHOK is an editor and writer with expertise in technical, academic and scientific materials. She is a regular contributor to Chiropractic Economics and resides in Long Beach, Calif. Her online portfolio can be viewed at thatwordgrrl.com, and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.