Curvesday Thursday: Chiropractic During Pregnancy

Chiropractic care is 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 during pregnancy safe?

There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. All chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant. Investing in the fertility and pregnancy wellness of women who are pregnant or trying to conceive is a routine care for most chiropractors.

Some chiropractors take a specific interest in prenatal and postnatal care and seek additional training. Below represents designations of chiropractors who have taken advanced steps in working with infertility and pregnancy wellness.

  • DACCP – Diplomate with ICPA reflecting highest level of advanced training
  • CACCP – Certified with the ICPA reflecting advanced training
  • Member of ICPA reflecting special interest
  • Webster Certified – trained to work specifically with pelvic balance in pregnancy

Chiropractors that have been trained to work with pregnant women may 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 trained in the needs of women who are pregnant will also provide you with exercises and stretches that are safe to use during pregnancy.

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 can result in a misaligned spine or joints:

  • 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.

This can affect the mother’s ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth. Breech and posterior positions can interfere with the natural ease of labor and lead to interventions such as c-sections. 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 can provide benefits for women who are pregnant.

Potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:

  • Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
  • Controlling symptoms of nausea
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Relieving back, neck or joint pain
  • Preventing a potential cesarean delivery

What about chiropractic care and breech deliveries?

The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association(ICPA), 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 has been clinically shown to allow for optimal fetal positioning. 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.

The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique. Further, the results from the study suggest it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique, as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy, when a woman has a breech presentation.

Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends 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.

Chiropractors and pregnancy: Talk to Your Health Care Provider

As more women are seeking the benefits of chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, more health care providers are seeking trained doctors of chiropractic in their communities to refer their pregnant patients to. Discuss these options with your health care provider. If they are not yet familiar with chiropractic care in pregnancy, ask them to find out more about its many benefits.

Most importantly, seek options that support your body’s natural abilities to function and find a team of providers who are respectful of your choices.

Sources: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/chiropractic-care-during-pregnancy/

Stickin’ It Tue You: Acupuncture Can Help With Pregnancy Symptoms

With all the poking and prodding that comes along with pregnancy, getting stuck with needles voluntarily probably seems like the last thing you’d want to do. But when it comes to banishing some pregnancy woes, many moms-to-be sing the praises of acupuncture. In fact, both scientific research too says acupuncture can help ease many of the common aches and discomforts of pregnancy.

Acupuncture is a healing art that originated in China thousands of years ago. Traditional Chinese medicine views the body as two opposing forces, yin and yang. When an imbalance occurs between the two, it blocks what Chinese medicine refers to as qi (pronounced CHEE), or the flow of vital energy along internal pathways (known as meridians) in our bodies. During acupuncture, a practitioner inserts hair-thin needles through the skin at points along the meridians to correct imbalances and restore health.

So does it work? Researchers have found that acupuncture points correspond to deep-seated nerves, so that when the needles are twirled or electrically stimulated (known as electropuncture), the nerves are activated. This, in turn, triggers the release of several brain chemicals, including endorphins, which block pain signals and help to relieve a number of pregnancy symptoms.
Benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy

Many people credit acupuncture for easing a wide range of pregnancy symptoms including heartburn, swelling in the legs, constipation, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica and more.

Here are some of the pregnancy symptoms acupuncture can relieve that science has studied:

Morning sickness: Some studies have shown that traditional acupuncture that targets the wrist can reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness.
Lower back and pelvic pain: Research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reports acupuncture could reduce pain in the lower back along with pelvic pain. Pregnant women in their late second and third trimesters received acupuncture on points on the ear; sham acupuncture (so-called “fake” acupuncture, done at nonspecific points); or no treatment at all. At the one-week follow-up, about 80 percent of women in the acupuncture group had a clinically significant reduction in pain, compared to 56 percent in the sham acupuncture group and only 36 percent for the group who received no treatment.
Depression: Depression during pregnancy is common, affecting nearly one in four women — but a targeted type of acupuncture may help. For a study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, during eight weeks clinically-depressed pregnant women who weren’t previously taking antidepressants received general acupuncture, acupuncture specific for depression, or massage. The severity of depression symptoms decreased most among women who received acupuncture for depression. And 63 percent of the women who received the depression-specific acupuncture responded to the treatment, compared to 44 percent in the general acupuncture and massage groups.
Headaches: Research has shown that acupuncture can reduce pregnancy-induced headaches; women who received it also used less medication.
Sleep Problems. Getting to sleep and staying asleep is trickier than ever during pregnancy — but some research has shown that women who receive acupuncture sleep better during pregnancy, too.

When done properly by a trained professional, acupuncture during pregnancy is considered safe and has few risks. Most risks are associated with acupuncture in general, such as soreness, redness or infection at the insertion sites, and injury from needles placed too deeply.

The biggest concern during pregnancy is where the acupuncture is performed: There are several acupuncture and acupressure points (like those in the ankle) that are said to induce contractions — which is why they should be avoided until term and used as an all natural form of induction.

Sources: http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy-acupuncture.aspx

Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

ImageChiropractic care is considered a safe and effective means to support a comfortable pregnancy, labor and delivery. As a pregnant woman prepares herself for birth, hormonal and physical changes can create a lot of stress and discomfort. Chiropractic care can help soothe the aches and pains associated throughout pregnancy, and prepare the body for a healthy labor and delivery.

First Trimester
Hormonal changes in the body as it adjusts to the early stages of pregnancy can have quite an impact to a woman’s body. This can cause symptoms such as morning sickness, water retention and/or bloating, headaches, mood swings and muscle tension. Since taking medications is not recommended during pregnancy, chiropractic treatment is a safe, non-drug alternative to treat many of these symptoms.

Second Trimester
As a pregnant woman will gain her greatest amount of weight during the second trimester, this can cause her center of gravity to be shifted forward. This shift can put additional stress on the muscles of the lower back and pelvis, causing the lumbar spine to increase its natural arch. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce low back pain through the duration of pregnancy.

Third Trimester
The continuing weight gains carried in the final months of pregnancy increase more stress and discomfort to the lower back and causing pressure and irritability to the sciatic nerve. Breast enlargement may cause shoulders to hunch and upper back pain to increase. The hormone Relaxin, used to promote greater flexibility of the ligaments and tendons to aid in labor and delivery, is released during the final trimester and may cause joints around the pelvic area to partially dislocate. Chiropractic adjustments can re-establish proper alignment and movement and create a stage for the baby to be delivered in a healthy way. Breech babies, those positioned to be born feet, first are often times the result of pelvic and sacrum misalignment. By doing a few adjustments, the chiropractor can help in aligning these areas to encourage the baby to turn into normal, head first position.

By alleviating the musculoskeletal symptoms of pregnancy, many of the other stress symptoms such as headaches and mood swings can be eased as well. This can give the mother-to-be a more healthy and uncomplicated delivery.

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