Chiropractic Advice for Moms-to-Be
As many new mothers
can attest, the muscle strains of pregnancy are very real and can be more than just a nuisance. The average weight gain of
25 to 35 pounds, combined with the increased stress placed on the body by the baby, may result in severe discomfort. Studies
have found that about half of all expectant mothers will develop low-back pain at some point during their pregnancies.1-3
This is especially true during late pregnancy, when the baby's head presses down on a woman's back, legs, and buttocks,
irritating her sciatic nerve. And for those who already suffer from low-back pain, the problem can become even worse.
During pregnancy, a woman's center of gravity almost immediately begins to shift forward to the front of her pelvis.
Although a woman's sacrum-or posterior section of the pelvis-has enough depth to enable her to carry a baby, the displaced
weight still increases the stress on her joints. As the baby grows in size, the woman's weight is projected even farther
forward, and the curvature of her lower back is increased, placing extra stress on the spinal disks. In compensation, the
normal curvature of the upper spine increases, as well.
While these changes sound dramatic, pregnancy hormones
help loosen the ligaments attached to the pelvic bones. But even these natural changes designed to accommodate the growing
baby can result in postural imbalances, making pregnant women prone to having awkward trips and falls.
Can Your Doctor of Chiropractic Help?
Before you become pregnant, your doctor of chiropractic can detect
any imbalances in the pelvis or elsewhere in your body that could contribute to pregnancy discomfort or possible neuromusculoskeletal
problems after childbirth.
Many pregnant women have found that chiropractic adjustments provide relief from the
increased low-back pain brought on by pregnancy. Chiropractic manipulation is safe for the pregnant woman and her baby and
can be especially attractive to those who are trying to avoid medications in treating their back pain. Doctors of chiropractic
can also offer nutrition, ergonomic, and exercise advice to help a woman enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
care can also help after childbirth. In the eight weeks following labor and delivery, the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy
begin to tighten up again. Ideally, joint problems brought on during pregnancy from improper lifting or reaching should be
treated before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state-to prevent muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort, and
(c) 2004 American Chiropractic Association