If you are pregnant one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby is to see a doctor of chiropractic. Chiropractic care provides so many things a pregnant body needs: a flexible and balanced spine, hips, pelvis and body structure; internal organs without postural stress and freedom from subluxations, which are all essential for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
In short – along with a nutrient dense diet, exercise and avoiding drugs, vaccines, alcohol and cigarettes – chiropractic care should be an essential part of a pregnant woman’s health care regimen.
Drug-free Health Care:
One of the best reasons for chiropractic care during pregnancy is that it is a drugless health care system. Drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter, can harm the growing fetus. Almost all types of drugs and medications have been linked to fetal damage or malformations.[i] As Robert Mendelsohn, MD the famed pediatrician stated pregnant women should “stay away from X-rays, diagnostic ultrasound, doctor-prescribed medication and every other form of dangerous obstetrical intervention.”[ii]
Can Chiropractic Help?
Many professionals have observed that chiropractic may help maintain pregnancy, control vomiting during pregnancy, deliver full-term infants with ease and produce healthier infants.[iii] Chiropractic has demonstrated success with back pain, premature contractions and back labor.
To positionally compensate the additional load due to the pregnancy, pregnant mothers often extend their lower backs. As the fetal load increases, women tend to arch their lower backs, specifically in the lumbar region of their vertebral column to maintain postural stability and balance. The arching of the lumbar region is known as lumbar lordosis, which recovers the center of mass into a stable position by reducing hip torque. According to a 2007 study lumbar lordosis can increase from an angle of 32 degrees at 0% fetal mass (i.e. non-pregnant women or very early in pregnancy) to 50 degrees at 100% fetal mass (very late in pregnancy).[iv] Postpartum the angle of the lordosis declines and can reach the angle prior to pregnancy. Unfortunately, while lumbar lordosis reduces hip torque, it also exacerbates spinal shearing load, which may be the cause for the common lower back pain experienced by pregnant women.[v]
Neuromechanical adaptations to pregnancy refers to the change in gait, postural parameters, as well as sensory feedback, due to the numerous anatomical, physiological and hormonal changes women experience during pregnancy. Such changes increase their risk for musculoskeletal disorders and fall injuries. Musculoskeletal disorders include lower-back pain, leg cramps, and hip pain. Pregnant women fall at a similar rate (27%) to women over age of 70 years (28%). Most of the falls (64%) occur during the second trimester. Additionally, two-thirds of falls are associated with walking on slippery floors, rushing or carrying an object. The root causes for these falls are not well known. However, some factors that may contribute to these injuries include deviations from normal posture, balance and gait.
The body’s posture changes as the pregnancy progresses. The pelvis tilts and the back arches to help keep balance. Poor posture occurs naturally from the stretching of the woman’s abdominal muscles as the fetus grows. These muscles are less able to contract and keep the lower back in proper alignment. The pregnant woman has a different pattern of gait. The step lengthens as the pregnancy progresses, due to weight gain and changes in posture. On average, a woman’s foot can grow by a half size or more during pregnancy. In addition, the increased body weight of pregnancy, fluid retention and weight gain lowers the arches of the foot, further adding to the foot’s length and width. The influences of increased hormones such as estrogen and relaxin initiate the remodeling of soft tissues, cartilage and ligaments.
The addition of mass, particularly around the torso, naturally changes a pregnant mother’s center of mass (COM). The change in COM requires pregnant mothers to adjust their bodies to maintain balance.
Know anyone contemplating back surgery? Send them this little quote from one of the world’s top orthopedic journals and then send them to a chiropractor.
“There is no acceptable evidence of the efficacy of any form of fusion for degenerative lumbar spondylosis, back pain, or instability.”
This is not new information. Although back surgery has an incredibly high failure rate and is less effective long-term than doing nothing, orthopedic surgeons still tell patients they need them.[vi]
[i] Vaughan VC, McKay RJ.(Eds.). Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics (10th Ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co. 1975:323.
[ii] Mendelsohn RS. The people’s doctor: A medical newsletter for consumers. 8(10):3.
[iii] Stein K. The value of chiropractic care in cases of pregnancy. ACA J Chiropractic. July 1964:19.
[iv] Whitcome K.K., Shapiro L.J., Lieberman D.E. (2007). “Fetal load and the evolution of lumbar lordosis in bipedal hominins”. Nature450: 1075–1078. doi:10.1038/nature06342. PMID 18075592.
[v] Ostgaard HC, Andersson GB,Karlsson K (1991). “Prevalence of back pain in pregnancy”. Spine 16 (5): 549–52. doi:10.1097/00007632-199105000-00011. PMID 1828912.
[vi] Deyo R et al. Spinal-fusion surgery – the case for restraint. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2004;350(7):722-726.