Morning sickness. Vomiting. Nausea. Back pain. Pelvic pain. Shortness of breath. Hormones gone wild. High blood pressure. Swollen ankles.
Symptoms are often seen as normal during pregnancy, something you better be prepared for over the next 38-42 weeks. Although having a baby is a wonderful experience, you might have not been ready for the following:
- Morning sickness
- Back pain
- Pelvic pain
- Shortness of breath
- Hormones gone wild
- High blood pressure.
- Swollen ankles.
These examples are common among pregnant women, but Chiropractic care can be the difference between a comfortable pregnancy and one of discomfort. Let’s look at how Chiropractic can help with the discomforts associated with pregnancy.
1.) Proper Spinal Positioning and Balance– Have you ever been in a car accident? Have you ever had a bad fall? Often trauma occurs in our life and we brush it off and move on with only a little discomfort at the time. However, trauma can cause a shift in structure and cause abnormal wearing and tearing of the joints. One research article determined that chronic symptoms do not began on average till seven years after a car accident. These traumas and subsequent changes are not only a problem themselves, but add pregnancy with all the changes that occur and these unnoticed problems quickly come to the surface. As shown below, changes in the spine can cause a host of problems that shift and distort the spine. These can lead to an unevenly aligned pelvis which can become incredibly painful, as well as problematic for the baby trying to get into a proper birthing position.
2.) These Hips Don’t Lie – Spinal compensations can result in distorted pelvic positioning, causing the baby to get into an unfavorable position for birth or possibly breech. Having a properly positioned pelvic region is very important for a good birthing experience. The sacrum, otherwise known as your tailbone, must be able to properly move as it is part of the birth canal. A fixated sacrum can make delivery significantly difficult. It is also important for a good delivery that the round ligament is not taut (tight). The round ligament attaches the uterus to the groin, the area where the legs attach to the pelvis. As the stomach begins to grow during pregnancy, the round ligament stretches which causes tension on this ligament. This tension causes the ligament to become taut, which can lead to uterine tension. Tight hip flexors can also create uterine tension. The hip flexors are muscles that run through the abdomen and attach to the front of the legs. The hip flexors are prone to tightness due to our sedentary lifestyle, even before the added stress of pregnancy.
3.) Hormones Gone Wild – As your body starts to prepare for delivery, different hormones will be released. One of the hormones that is released is called relaxin. Relaxin “relaxes” the ligaments so the pelvis is able to prepare for delivery. However, this helpful hormone for delivery can have a negative consequence for your low back in the meantime. With weight gain and changes in the center of gravity, ligament laxity and pelvic instability can become the norm causing misalignments in the hips, tailbone, and low back. These misalignments can be extremely painful when they irritate or compress a nerve. In fact, most women will experience some type of back pain during their third trimester. According to the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) approximately 50-80% of women will experience back pain during the third trimester. Since most medications cannot be taken due to the pregnancy, here are things that might help according to Mayo Clinic: exercise such as walking, swimming, or stationary biking, heat or ice (up to 20 minutes several times per day), postural improvements, sleeping on side with legs parallel to one another, massage, wearing shoes with a low heel but not completely flat, acupuncture, and chiropractic.