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Is it safe to have chiropractic adjustments when pregnant? How can adjustments benefit a pregnant woman?
by Stacey L. Jones, DC
Yes, Chiropractic adjustments are safe during pregnancy. Doctors of Chiropractic make alterations in technique and patient positioning to accommodate for the increase in belly and breast size. Many Chiropractic adjusting tables are specially designed with abdominal pieces that 'drop-away', allowing the pregnant woman to lay face down.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy is becoming more common and many OB's are very open to the concept. They are referring their patients for adjustments instead of throwing up their hands and saying, "It is a normal complaint during pregnancy. It will go away in a few more months."
During pregnancy, our body secretes hormones that help to relax our ligaments. Without these hormones, our pelvis would not expand enough to allow the birth of the baby. When you add the increase in weight, shift in center of gravity and the change in biomechanics (due to the weight--all out in front!), it is no wonder that pregnant women are prone to back pain. Most often, during pregnancy, low back pain is a result of vertebral subluxations and muscle spasm. A vertebral subluxation is the misalignment of a bone in your spine. Subluxations cause muscle spasm and stress on the spine and nerves. The Chiropractic adjustment is a specific force applied to the misaligned joint in order to correct its position and function.
Low back pain is the most common reason that pregnant women seek Chiropractic care. The degree of pain ranges from barely noticeable to debilitating, with stabbing or shooting pain into the legs and buttocks. Pain in the mid-back becomes more frequent as the breasts become denser from milk gland production. Many women also seek Chiropractic care for headaches and migraines. Most headaches are caused or aggravated by subluxations in the cervical spine/neck. Fluxes of hormones also contribute to headache occurrence. Women, who suffer migraines and were taking medication prior to becoming pregnant, often look to Chiropractic for relief, since they can no longer take the medication. Many patients actually find that the adjustments are more effective than the medications.
Aside from 'symptom relief', receiving Chiropractic care during pregnancy has other benefits to yourself, your baby and upcoming labor. The uterus is supported by ligaments that attach to the pelvis. If the bones in your pelvis are subluxated, it can put tension on those ligaments. This can cause a decrease in space in the uterus, as well as, in the pelvis ring. It is important to ensure that the pelvis is aligned properly to allow optimal opening during labor. Women, who have undergone Chiropractic adjustments during their pregnancy, report that their labors are easier and less stressful on their bodies.
Many 'side effects' of pregnancy can be reduced with Chiropractic adjustments . . . low back pain, leg cramps, mid-back pain, neck pain, headaches, carpal tunnel symptoms, and even nausea. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, don't 'grin and bear it'. Find a Chiropractor in your area, who is trained in caring for pregnant women, and set up an appointment!
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