Pregnancy is one of the most magical and rewarding journeys women will ever encounter in life. From the moment of conception, the female body undergoes various transformations – structural, chemical, hormonal and emotional. This perfectly organised process of pregnancy is designed to ensure that both the mother and newborn can adapt and develop with minimal stress, with as much ease and with no or few complications. However unfortunately things don’t always go to plan. Here’s some tips on how to help you along the journey.
Structural support can begin at any stage of pregnancy. Commonly I’ve seen women who experience discomfort in the lower back, ribs, groin or headaches (just to name a few symptoms!)
50% of women experience significant levels of back or pelvic pain during their pregnancy. Due to the additional pressure put on muscles, ligaments, joints, discs and bones – subluxations (misalignment of the spine) may occur.
Research has shown that Chiropractic care has highly effective results on muscular and spinal complaints – particularly the pelvic floor. 1
Your pelvic floor muscles are integral to the birth process, and to the prevention of incontinence. This research demonstrated:
• Chiropractic care can have an impact on pelvic floor muscles.
• Pregnant women who received chiropractic care had a greater ability to relax their pelvic floor muscles at rest.
• This relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles may mean that chiropractic care could be of benefit to pregnant women, as it may help them have a natural vaginal delivery.
“If we can have uncomplicated, natural vaginal delivery without drugs and intervention, the baby is better off and the woman is better off. This study we have done suggests chiropractic care can help women by relaxing their pelvic floor muscles.” Neuroscientist
and Chiropractic Researcher Heidi Haavik. 1
Chiropractic may also help pregnant women with:
• Creating more ease during labour
• Helping them cope with stress more easily
• Managing normal changes of pregnancy
• Providing ergonomic advice as the body changes
Techniques change slightly as your belly grows, and here at the clinic we have the right table and “belly pillow” for you to lie comfortably while receiving your adjustment.
It’s important to keep the body moving with gentle exercise such as pregnancy yoga or Pilates and swimming. Women who exercise while pregnant gain 21% less weight and have an improved attitude over sedentary women.2 They also have shorter easier labours, less medical intervention, less foetal distress and faster recovery.3
Aim to reduce your toxic load on your body – obviously avoid alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and other stimulants. Be mindful of the chemicals around the home such as your cleaning products, personal care products (cleansers, make-up) and air fresheners. Drink plenty of filtered water to keep you hydrated and help flush out any waste and toxins. It’s also worth touching base with your health practitioner such as your Chiropractor, Naturopath or Acupuncturist to help you with any dietary requirements or supplements to help best support you and your growing baby.
I also find Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) to be very effective for my patients who are wanting to conceive, during pregnancy and post-natal. NET can help alleviate stress from the body and mind. Commonly my patients express worry about not falling pregnant, the health of their baby, fears about delivery and their ability as a parent. If we have negative emotions for a long period of time, they can cause the release of a particular type of hormone and neuro-transmitter that may be detrimental to your health. Fear, tension and anxiety will also affect muscles, tendons and ligaments that can create further body and spinal stress. Calm, peaceful thoughts release positive neurotransmitters. If you find you’re having trouble letting go of these negative thoughts, NET may help!
The pregnancy journey is a wonderful rite of passage for a woman; such a blessing to bring a child into the world. There are excellent complementary therapies available for you feel supported through such an incredible process.
1. Effect of Spinal Manipulation on Pelvic Floor Functional, Changes in Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women: A Preliminary Study. Haavik, Heidi et al. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 39 , Issue 5 , 339 – 347
2. Clapp JF 3rd. Little KD. Effective recreational exercise on pregnancy, weight gain and subcutaneous fat deposition. Med Sci Sports Exercise 1995:27;170-177
3. Anderson C DC. Exercise during pregnancy. ICA Review: Spring/Summer; 2004. 52-61