Pregnant moms are usually coming in for two different reasons primarily. When they’re expecting and they’re coming to a chiropractor, they either want and need pain relief because they’re uncomfortable during the pregnancy or they’re trying to help optimize the birthing process. Both are extremely important.
Let’s talk about the first one, the obvious one. The thing that most people associate chiropractors with is back pain or neck pain, right? Well, we have the expecting mom who has gained about 15 or 20 pounds during the initial stage of the pregnancy. Her center of gravity starts to shift forward, which loads the sacroiliac joints, and the spinal facet joints a little bit differently and puts a different stroke on the spine and changes the way the body bears weight and handles it. That can cause a lot of lower back pain and discomfort and also pain in the pelvic girdle.
A lot of the moms are just coming for pain relief because during pregnancy you can’t be taking aspirin or painkillers because those are going to cross the placenta barrier and affect your unborn child. So, the safest thing is to see a chiropractor, manage the mechanics of the spine, and make sure that everything is lined up to keep pressure off the nerves. That is going to help an expecting mom greatly because when there’s less pain, there’s less stress and they’re more relaxed. The more relaxed, the healthier the baby grows and the easier it is for a mom to deliver the baby.
Now moving into that next part, when we really start to look at things and we talk about the benefits of chiropractic during pregnancy, we apply something called the Webster Technique. Now, the Webster Technique is becoming very popular and it’s a very familiar term in pregnancy in the birth conversations now. And lots of expecting moms are seeking out chiropractors who are proficient in the Webster Technique to support a more comfortable, safer, and easier birth.
What we’re talking about primarily with the Webster Technique is the sacral subluxation and the imbalances that occur in the pelvis due to the weight gain. When you have sacral subluxation, that can often contribute to difficult labor, dystocia, meaning slowing down the uterine function, the pelvic contractions, and everything that helps the baby come out. And when those things slow down, it takes longer for the baby to be born, and the longer it takes, the more apt the nurses and the doctors are to coach you more towards interventions. They’ll say, “Hey, we can give you some Pitocin, which will actually speed up the contractions and help you get the baby quicker.” But sometimes that’s not always the best option.
A lot of moms are looking to have a safe, more natural, healthy birth without any drugs and their side effects, and they just want to do it naturally. So, a lot of moms are working with midwives and doulas, which I think is extremely important because they’re going to help coach you through the birth plan that you design together. There are times where things come up that can’t be controlled and then everything goes out the window and sometimes the C-sections are warranted, but most of the time, if you stick to your birth plan and you’re careful and you go slow and you make the decisions correctly and stack the deck in your favor, that vaginal birth that so many moms want becomes a reality.
So, the number one benefit of chiropractic care during pregnancy is obviously less pain and discomfort during the pregnancy. Then the other thing that’s important is that it really helps moms choose to have the birth they want, that vaginal birth. We can stack the deck in their favor by lining up the pelvic girdle and by making sure we have enough flexibility through the sacroiliac joints, because a quarter inch of movement on the sacroiliac joints left and right, could be the difference between a C-section and a vaginal birth.
We are making sure that the moms are prepared and that they’re educated, because the mind is very powerful as well. Making sure she’s prepared physically and mentally for the birth process is the most important thing, and that’s why receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy is of huge benefit in ensuring a safe, natural birth. We always encourage moms to work with their doulas and to get checked by a chiropractor. All the research shows that if you apply the Webster Technique correctly it results in shorter delivery times, less need for interventions, less pain during the pregnancy, a higher incidence of a natural vaginal birth, and a lower incidence of having a C-section.
I hope this enlightens some people and really gives you a better explanation of the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy and a better understanding of how to stack the deck in your favor to have a great pregnancy and an easier delivery.