When you think about all of the physical changes the body must go through from conception to birth, it is no wonder that so many people see chiropractors in pregnancy. It is a common myth that pain and discomfort are just par for the course and that to be pregnant means to be uncomfortable. Chiropractic care can not only help you to feel great but also prepare your body, spine, and pelvis for birth. Here are the top five reasons to add a chiropractor to your birth prep team:
1. It is possible to feel great through your pregnancy
First, the body is amazing! Physical changes that occur in the body during pregnancy such as shifting of your center of balance, increased lower back curvature, natural separation of the rectus abdominals, and widening of your ribcage (to name a few) naturally occur to help the body to adapt to the growing baby and prepare the body for birth. Pain in pregnancy often occurs when the body has trouble adapting to these changes. Common symptoms such as sciatica, low back pain, upper back and neck tension, rib pain, round ligament soreness, and pubic symphysis dysfunction can all be helped with chiropractic care.
Chiropractic adjustments restore mobility to the joints of the spine and pelvis so the body can move, support and adapt to these natural changes in an optimal way. The spine houses our spinal cord, the information highway that connects our brain to the organs, muscles, and tissues of the body, including the growing baby. When the spine is working at its best it supports this brain-body connection so the body can properly adapt to the physical changes in pregnancy and you can not only feel your best but also function at your best.
2. Proper positioning of baby in-utero
Did you know that the alignment of your pelvis has an impact on the positioning of your baby? In the pelvis you have three moving joints: two SI joints and the pubic symphysis. These joints need to be able to move. Important ligaments, such as the round and broad ligaments, secure the uterus and baby to your body. Misalignments, twisting, or torque in the pelvis will pull on these ligaments restricting your baby’s ability to move.
The Webster Technique is a gentle chiropractic technique that helps to release tension in the joints, ligaments, and muscles. When your baby is in a breech, transverse, or posterior position this balancing technique often frees up space to allow your baby to move into the optimal head down position. The Webster Technique does not involve any physical turning of your baby but opens space to allow your baby to do this on their own.
3. Preparing for birth
Chiropractic care can not only help you feel good during pregnancy but also prepare you for birth. Many doulas, midwives, and birth workers recommend chiropractic care because it has been associated with shorter labor times, less back labor, and often a decreased need for interventions.
As mentioned above, your pelvis has three joints that are designed to move, release, and open in birth. Your sacrum, a triangular shaped bone at the bottom of the spine, is positioned at the center of the two SI joints. Mobility of your sacrum is very important as it must be able to physically move out of the way to allow for the birth of your baby.
Chiropractors are trained to assess for areas of tension in the joints, muscles, and ligaments and then restore movement with chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue release techniques. We know that utilizing the squatting position in labor can open the pelvis by as much as 30%. Chiropractic care can help you get there!
4. Healing postpartum
Coming in for chiropractic care after your birth is great for identifying and releasing any tension that occurred during labor as well as any aches and pains from nursing, holding, and caring for your new baby.
If everything is feeling good postpartum, I will generally recommend an assessment two weeks postpartum so you can stay home and bond with baby. If, however, there is an immediate or pressing issue such as pubic symphysis, back, or tail bone pain that is making it difficult to sit, stand, move, or care for your baby, it is beneficial to come in right away as these issues can be significantly relieved with chiropractic care.
5. Chiropractic for baby
This is also a great time to bring your baby in for their Baby Wellness Exam. This gentle assessment will check for tension in the spine and body that may have occurred either in-utero or during the birthing process.
It is common for us to think of new babies as being free of any tension (because they are brand new!) however studies show that as high as 80% of babies have tension or misalignment in the spine. Long or very short labor, use of vacuum or forceps, breech, transverse or posterior positioning in-utero, and multiples are all more likely to cause tension, however even pregnancies and births that are described as uncomplicated and uneventful can cause misalignments.
Babies with a torticollis (or who favor looking one way), a plagiocephaly (flat spot), troubles latching, sucking or nursing, who are overly gassy, uncomfortable, colicky and/or having issues with sleep often have tension in the spine. Chiropractic adjustments for baby are gentle, safe and effective, simply using the finger tips and soft massage-like pressure.
Chiropractic adjustments through the first few years of life can help soothe and calm your baby, address little bumps and falls, support motor milestones, and healthy growth and development. I would be honored to give your baby their first adjustment!
It’s never too early (or too late) to start
Whether you are at the beginning of your pregnancy, or nearing the end, it is never too late to start Chiropractic care. The earlier you start, the more time we have to balance your spine and pelvis, however chiropractic adjustments will help no matter where you are in your pregnancy. I would be honored to work with you, your new baby and your family. I am here to help.
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Dr. Jessica de Nooij is a Calgary area chiropractor with special interest in pregnancy, postpartum, pediatrics and family wellness. She has over 10 years of practice experience as well as many additional courses through the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association (ICPA), Birthfit Professional Association, Spinning Babies, and CAPPA to name a few. She utilizes gentle manual, instrument and finger-tip contact adjustments to restore natural movement to the spine and optimize nervous system function. The treatment includes a combination of spinal adjustments, soft tissue release, home exercises and referrals to other health practitioners when needed. Her passion is to support, educate and inspire women and their families through the journey from fertility into pregnancy, postpartum and life with children. Dr. Jessica would be honoured to be your family chiropractor.
Dr. Jessica de Nooij is in full time practice at The Wellness Studio in NW Calgary. She would love to connect with you and is always available to answer any questions you have. To contact her or book a new patient assessment you can call the office at 403.228.5433 or email info@theWellnessStudio.ca.