Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is the health maintenance of the spinal column, discs, related nerves and bone geometry without drugs or surgery. It involves the art and science of adjusting misaligned joints of the body, especially of the spine, which reduces spinal nerve stress and therefore promotes health throughout the body.
Is Chiropractic care safe during pregnancy?
There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. Chiropractors that have been trained to work with pregnant women will use tables that adjust for a pregnant woman's body, and they will use techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen. A chiropractor who is versed in the needs of women who are pregnant will also provide you with exercises and stretches that are safe to use during pregnancy and compliment any adjustments made to your spine.
Why should I have chiropractic care during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there are several physiological and endocrinological changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby. The following changes could result in a misaligned spine or joint:
- Protruding abdomen and increased back curve
- Pelvic changes
- Postural adaptations
Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. When the pelvis is misaligned, it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery. The nervous system is the master communication system to all the body systems including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively.
What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?
Chiropractic care during pregnancy may provide benefits for women who are pregnant. Potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:
- Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
- Controlling symptoms of nausea
- Increasing the likelihood of full-term delivery
- Reducing the time of labor and delivery
- Relieving back, neck or joint pain
- Prevent a potential cesarean section
What about chiropractic care and breech deliveries?
The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which enables chiropractors to establish balance in the pregnant woman's pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments. This balanced state in the pelvis makes it easier for a breech baby to turn naturally. The technique is known as the Webster Technique.
It is considered normal by some for a baby to present breech until the third trimester. Most birth practitioners are not concerned with breech presentations until a patient is 37 weeks along. Approximately 4% of all pregnancies result in a breech presentation.
Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether. Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.
The Webster Technique: A technique for pregnant women
The Webster Technique, discovered by Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), is a specific chiropractic adjustment for pregnant mothers. It is a chiropractic technique designed to relieve the causes of intrauterine constraint.
It has been highly successful in relieving intrauterine constraint and helping to convert breech presentations to cephalic presentation for more than 20 years.
What is intrauterine constraint? Intrauterine constraint is defined as any forces external to the developing fetus that obstructs the normal movement of the fetus. Intrauterine constraint can prevent the developing fetus from attaining a head down vertex position and achieving a vaginal birth, resulting in cesarean section delivery. Today, nearly 13% of all cesarean deliveries performed are due to breech presentation.
Performance of the Webster Technique involves analysis of the relationship of the bones of the pelvis, and correction of aberrant biomechanics through the use of a light force chiropractic adjustment of the sacrum (Step 1). It also involves analysis and relief of specific abdominal muscle tension or spasm (Step 2). Both steps are intended to relieve the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint that may lead to cesarean section delivery.
It is important to stress at this time that the Webster Technique is not to be misconstrued as the practice of obstetrics. The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic technique intended to relieve a specific musculoskeletal condition, and is well within the chiropractor's scope of practice.