By Dr. Katie Greeley D.C.
Chiropractic Has Many Benefits During Pregnancy
When a woman finds out she is pregnant a lot will change with her body. Along with the great miracle growing inside, a woman may also experience some discomforts.
As a mother of two I can tell you that most of these discomforts can be relieved very gently and effectively. Some of the most common ailments that occur during pregnancy are back pain and headaches. Since most medications can pass through the placenta and effect the growing fetus most woman are advised not to take over the counter medication if they can help it and are told that it will go away after pregnancy.
So do we just suffer for nine months? Hopefully not, this article will go over some natural alternatives to help relieve pain and discomfort during pregnancy.
As our bodies start to change and expand with the growing fetus our hormones will allow our ligaments to become relaxed so our hips can spread and with the growing weight in front our muscles will become imbalanced with our Para vertebral muscles in the low back region.
This can lead to misalignment with the pelvic cavity and can affect the nerve that runs down the back into the legs that causes sciatic pain. In chiropractic offices this type of misalignment is easily corrected with a simple balancing of the sacroiliac joint and when the pressure is released off of the sciatic nerve most women will have relief of their lowback and sciatic pain.
With the unbalanced posture due to an enlarged belly many women tend to have increased stress on their neck and the surrounding muscles, which can lead to tension headaches. Headaches can be relieved by an adjustment to the neck as well as peppermint herbs rubbed on the temples.
Some women have reported swelling of the wrists and ankles that can lead to carpal tunnel like symptoms and edema in the lower legs. Chiropractors can relieve this stress with a gentle adjustment to the extremities.
Acid reflux is another common symptom that occurs with pregnancy. In many women as the baby grows inside the fetus tends to push up against the diaphragm which can create a pocket for the acid from the stomach to spill up into the esophagus creating the burning sensation. In a chiropractic office a simple adjustment to the diaphragm muscle can help relieve the tension as well as papaya supplements can also help with digestion.
Additional Benefits of Chiropractic During Pregnancy
Not only is chiropractic helpful in relieving some common pregnancy aches and pains research has shown that chiropractic care during pregnancy can reduce the length of time a woman is in labor.
First time moms averaged a 24% shorter labor and second time mothers experienced 39% shorter labor length than the average woman not under chiropractic care according to Dr. Fallon.
Many chiropractors that specialize in family care will also be trained in the Webster technique which uses adjustments to the pelvic area and balancing of surrounding muscles to allow the uterus to relax and within 48 hours if the baby can turn itself it will without any risk to the amniotic fluid or the growing baby.
While most women know that during pregnancy we should avoid junk food and trans fat many women don’t realize that almonds, berries, broccoli, eggs, salmon, and sweet potatoes are great for pregnancy.
Coffee can irritate the uterus and in some sensitive individuals can even cause miscarriages. Fish and substances high in mercury should be avoided.
While some herbs are great during pregnancy some are not. A few must haves during pregnancy are Chamomile for it’s relaxing properties, ginger root for morning sickness, and peppermint for digestion and tension relief.
Some herbs to avoid all together are ephedra which can raise the heart rate and blood pressure and predispose the mother to preclampsia and early labor, wild ginger which can cause uterine contractions, and st. john’s wort which can lead to mood swings and depression and suicidal thoughts.
As with any herb or supplement one should always consult with a physician who specializes in nutritional supplementation. Next time you find yourself pregnant or if you know someone who is, pass along this helpful information so they can have the best pregnancy possible and enjoy the great miracle growing inside.
About the Author:
Dr. Katie Greeley is a chiropractor and a mother of two living in Simi Valley, California. She has taken extra courses on pediatrics above and beyond the regular doctorate degree. Dr. Greeley is the owner of the practice United Family Chiropractic is located in Wood Ranch at 1070 Country Club Dr. West #D Simi Valley, Ca. Her office can be reached at 805-522-2324 for further questions.
Pregnancy and chiropractic, Dr. Fallon, www. Ivillage.com 1991
Must have pregnancy guide, Lynch, Sally Wallace “Alternative Medicine,” March 2007, pgs 64-71
“Power up your diet,” Pasquali, Kimberly, Mothering, October 2006, pg 64