While many women don’t think of chiropractic care until perhaps they need to turn a breech baby close to their due date (chiropractic care can certainly help with this), both studies and anecdotes are plentiful that support the use of chiropractic treatment even before pregnancy. Seeing a chiropractor can help properly align the body for optimal fertility, assist during pregnancy to keep the pelvis, back, and spine where they need to be for a healthy delivery, and aid in a faster recovery postpartum. Reproductive health can be vastly improved with the help of chiropractic care.
Getting Pregnant & Your Greenville Chiropractor
Starting a family is thrilling and exciting and truth be told, can be scary. The vast majority of couples – about 85% – will achieve pregnancy within a year of actively trying. But for those couples who don’t get pregnant within a year of trying, or six months if they are in their 30s, it can be excruciating. Often they are asking themselves and their doctors what could be wrong, why aren’t they able to conceive, what can be done.
As easy as it may seem to achieve pregnancy for some people, there is a lot that needs to happen within the bodies of the woman and man to make a baby. Timing is crucial, as are healthy eggs and sperm, properly balanced hormones, and correct positioning of reproductive organs. The endocrine system controls hormones, which could be interrupted by problems within the central nervous system. The uterus may not be in an ideal position due to a misalignment in the pelvis, which could also affect the position of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. The body is incredibly designed with each part having a specific job – yet all parts need the others to work correctly or else it affects their own job. And perhaps the most crucial aspect of the body working together is the communication system from the brain through the spine to other parts of the body. So if there is a subluxation (inflammation and misalignment) in the spine, the messages the brain needs to send to say, the ovaries or uterus, won’t make it there. This is a simple way to explain complex systems but the overall message is that it is of utmost importance that the body is in proper alignment so all systems work the best they possibly can.
Chiropractic care can often help couples who have experienced infertility. Several years ago, the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research published research on the benefits of chiropractic care and fertility. They looked at more than a dozen studies and research articles and found that chiropractic care helped women to achieve pregnancy no matter their medical history and age.One of the studies was about a 32-year-old woman who had not menstruated for 12 years and was trying to get pregnant. It’s essential for women to have a regular cycle to become pregnant so it was not surprising she could achieve pregnancy. The research article said: “The woman had undergone a number of medical infertility treatments, but still could not conceive. After two months of chiropractic care, with attention on adjustments in the lumbar region, her menses started and after regular cycles for four months, she became pregnant.”Dr. Madeline Behrendt compiled this research for the Journal and said that the many women who received chiropractic care to address infertility had a wide variety of stress related to their inability to conceive such as car accidents, blocked fallopian tubes, scoliosis, and work stress. Once their subluxations were detected and corrected, they were able to conceive. While chiropractic care is not a miracle cure, it is vastly less expensive than in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other medical procedures. There are no drugs and adjustments are painless. If couples are experiencing infertility and have tried seemingly everything else, it may be beneficial to seek chiropractic care to achieve a pregnancy.
Benefits during pregnancy of Greenville Chiropractic care
Once a woman achieves pregnancy, her body immediately starts changing and adjusting to grow and support the baby and prepare for delivery. About 80% of women report some kind of pelvic pain during pregnancy. This can include things like pressure in the lower back, pressure on the pubic bone, pain that shoots down the legs, and cramping. When a woman is pregnant, there is significant increased pressure on her lumbar spine, which can cause pain throughout the lower body, a shift in gait, and stress on the hips. There are several studies that suggest spinal correction can alleviate much of this pain during (and after) pregnancy.
I see a number of pregnant women at the Greenville Spine Institute who present themselves with many of these same issues. After an extensive screening progress and with regular appointments for spinal adjustments, which we meticulously track throughout the pregnancy, my patients report minimal, if any, pain and significant relief of symptoms. The distribution of weight changes throughout pregnancy as the baby develops, which puts pressure on the musculoskeletal symptom in the body, affects the expansion of the hips, and changes the tilt of the uterus. By working together throughout the pregnancy, I’m able to see when these changes happen and alter treatment to adjust the areas most affected by the bodily changes, easing her pain and making her pregnancy more enjoyable.
Labor and Delivery are aided by chiropractic care
When it comes to labor and delivery, the benefits of chiropractic care continue. Several studies that date back many years have found:
- That first time pregnant women who receive chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy report a 25% less labor time than those who don’t;
- That multiparous mothers who receive chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy report a 31% less time in labor than those moms who don’t;
- A direct relationship between pregnant mothers who receive chiropractic care to a lesser chance of having a C-section, of preterm delivery, of the use of forceps, and of meconium-stained amniotic fluid.
- Additionally, using chiropractic care during pregnancy can also aid the baby in getting into the optimal position for birth. If the body is aligned and the systems are communicating properly, the baby has a higher chance of following the natural path towards birth. A study from the early 2000s showed that 92% of pregnant moms with a breech baby who saw a chiropractor had their babies repositioned for optimal birth.
Postpartum benefits of chiropractic
After birth, a woman’s body continues to change and adjust. These changes can be overt or subtle and can occur in the lower back when picking up her infant or the car seat, or in the pelvic region which causes discomfort walking and sleeping, or in the thoracic region as moms are nursing, bottle feeding, or rocking the baby. Studies indicate that about 77% of postpartum mothers face pain following delivery, which makes complete sense given that she has grown and birthed a new human being.
All of these new changes can cause subluxations in the spine and neck, which can lead to pain, discomfort, trouble sleeping, nursing, or walking, and even a decrease in emotional well-being. Research has shown that postpartum patients receiving chiropractic care, including tailored adjustments made for each patients, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises, show significant improvement in physiological and neurologic areas.
Babies need chiropractic care, too
Sometimes babies have a hard time during delivery, which can affect their spinal alignment. Or they may have challenges with breastfeeding or are colicky. Any of these issues can make for a difficult first few weeks (or longer) for parents and their baby.
I have six children of my own and it was issues they faced as newborns that caused me to focus my practice on this particular area of interest. I saw how small and gentle manipulations made immense positive differences in those early weeks of life to help correct things that needed to be realigned after birth.
Chiropractic care is focused on eliminating subluxations and aligning the body correctly to make sure all the systems are communicating correctly. Like in adults, if these systems are not properly aligned, communication within the body will be challenging and parts will not work as intended. For babies, that means digestion problems, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), constantly being uncomfortable (and not able to tell anyone), constipation, and sleep issues. The nervous system and digestive system are often affected in infants and with proper (and gentle) spinal manipulation, chiropractic treatment can work effectively for babies.
One study highlights a little nine-day-old girl who was not gaining weight post-birth. Her mother was having an extraordinarily difficult time with breastfeeding the baby and lactation consultants were not solving the problems so she sought the help of a chiropractor. The baby was adjusted several times on her spine and neck within a two-week period and ended up gaining weight because she was able to successfully nurse.
Manipulations done on babies are very gentle. It’s wonderful to see how well babies will do even after two or three appointments. The relief on mom’s face is palpable. And the benefits of chiropractic care for infants goes even beyond initial issues they face. It can help boost their immune system and aid in keeping dreaded ear infections at bay. When the spinal cord is properly aligned and the bodily systems all communicate correctly, studies suggest this can help keep harmful pathogens from gaining hold in the body. And giving an infant that initial immunity boost can be quite helpful so early in life.