When you are done being pregnant…either physically or emotionally…we can help!
Pregnancy has always been depicted as one of the most magical and wonderful experiences in a woman’s life. We see strong women, who only look pregnant from the side, happily resting their plates on their tummies and giggling as one push sends their perfect baby gently from their body.
Unfortunately, that is not the case for 99% of us.
Though pregnancy is an absolute gift and it is miraculous what our bodies can accomplish, it is also 9 months of trying to maintain your regular life while continuously making a human. No small feat!
For my first pregnancy, I was a server. I was on my feet several hours a day, surrounded by food and people. I lasted about 6 months working and physically couldn’t take it anymore.
For my second pregnancy I was working for the chiropractors and serving part time. I was able to work all the way until the very last week of pregnancy. I completely attribute this to how chiropractic and massage can benefit a mother’s mind and body during pregnancy.
- Hormones. Oh, the hormones. Usually one of the first things a woman notices when she’s pregnant. The HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, hormone is the main culprit. It’s what triggered the positive test that gave you butterflies followed by the nausea that can plague you the entire pregnancy. It’s manufactured by the cells of the newly developing placenta within days after the fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining and gets the hormonal ball rolling by stimulating the corpus luteum to pump out even more estrogen and progesterone. 1 There is also the overbearing stress and anxiety that can stay dormant until you are watching a sad puppy commercial and find yourself bawling over the crushing weight of parenthood and how you can’t even fit your arm into your skinny jeans anymore.
Massage therapy is widely accepted as the go to treatment for combating anxiety and stress. Recent studies have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is introduced to women’s prenatal care. Also, in women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (hormones associated with stress) were reduced, and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression). Not to mention, getting any moment of peace off of your feet is gold to an expecting mother.
- Aches and Pain. One thing people always say is, “Enjoy your sleep while you can!” which having been pregnant, is hilarious. Sleep? What sleep??? Between waking up to go to the bathroom every three hours to sleeping in the one allowed position, there is no restful sleep once you hit that second trimester. Not to mention the constant aches and pains of a rapidly expanding body.When I was pregnant, I had issues with constant hip pain. My first pregnancy I just endured it. For my second, I saw the chiropractor. The stress of my changing body had caused my hip to “pop out” often. I would see the doctor and get re-aligned, she also gave tips on stretches and muscle strengthening to help hold her adjustments and I continued my pregnancy with next to no pain! I was able to sleep longer and more soundly. When prenatal chiropractic is incorporated with prenatal massage, another benefit is relief from nerve pain coming from the areas around the uterus. A lot of women experience sciatic nerve pain due to the uterus resting on muscles of the lower back and the pelvic floor. This pressure spreads tension to the muscles of the legs, leading to swelling which puts painful pressure on the nerves. Massage can release that tension on the muscles, which will lead to reduced pressure on the nerves and less pain.
- Swelling. So much swelling. Usually around the time you’ve hit that 32 to 33 week mark in your pregnancy, you find everything seems to fit a little bit snugger and you can’t seem to walk 10 minutes without your feet turning into a pack of Hawaiian Rolls. This is usually about the time most women just want it to be over. They’ve placed an eviction notice in their uterus and are terrified they may actually explode if they continue to swell at this rate.
Deflation is possible with prenatal massage. Massage during pregnancy brings down swelling by stimulating the soft tissues to reduce the collection of fluids in the joints as well as increase the removal of tissue waste by the body’s lymphatic system.
A mother’s biggest concern is always the health and well-being of their baby. The main goals of their pregnancy being a healthy child and a safe delivery. We plan to keep everything natural, have birth in a bathtub while listening to Enya. That was my goal. Unfortunately, not everything will always go to plan. Delivery can be completely out of our control. The baby can come anytime it wants and in any fashion.
There are ways to help ensure an easier if not more controlled birthing experience that involve chiropractic care throughout pregnancy.
- Keeping baby healthy. Chiropractic care aligns the spine to freeing kinked pathways for your nervous system to fully communicate. This means a stronger immune system and increased blood circulation delivering nutrients and oxygen to baby. A woman’s body is built to create and bear children. So making sure it is able to properly communicate with itself gives yourself the best chance at a healthy pregnancy experience.
- Delivery. One of the most frightening words we hear as expecting mothers. You get the horror stories all throughout the pregnancy but when it comes time, it will most likely be the last thing on your mind. A lot of women develop birth plans that help them to feel in control during the experience. They are often warned that circumstances may arise where the birth plan may have to be nixed in order to deliver the baby safely. C-sections have become more and more common as a birthing experience. Though they have come a long way in the safety of these procedures, a natural birth is usually the safest and preferred choice.
When you are pregnant, as your abdomen grows, the curvature of your back is changed which typically results in postural changes. Your pelvis is also changing to accommodate the baby during pregnancy; if your pelvis becomes misaligned, it could reduce the amount of room for the developing baby (Intrauterine constraint). A misaligned pelvis can also affect the baby’s movement, making it difficult to get into the best possible position for delivery. One of the major issues prenatal Chiropractic care can address is a “breech” position, where the baby’s buttocks and feet are positioned to be delivered first instead of the proper, head first position. These issues can interfere with the natural, non- invasive births and can often lead to C-sections. Chiropractors utilize a specific method, known as the Webster technique, to achieve balance in the pelvis as well as to reduce stress to the uterus and the supporting ligaments. Clinical studies have shown that establishing a balanced state in the pelvis allows for optimal fetal positioning, which in turn can lead to an easier and safer delivery process for both mother and baby. This is a fantastic technique our doctors have had a lot of success with in the past.
- Postnatal care. During pregnancy, women are so worried about the baby’s debut that they don’t think about what happens after. The recovery process can be rough. After hours of labor and months of bodily changes, your body can begin shedding the pregnancy and regulating itself back to normal. This process can take up to at least a year. Be easy on yourself!
Chiropractic and massage therapy can continue to ease this process by ensuring your body is able to communicate with itself effectively. This can speed up healing time and help combat depression which could be a result of additional hormone fluctuation as your body regulates. It is widely prescribed by Doula’s as good practice to get your baby adjusted early since the birthing process is rough on their tiny bodies. Keeping them aligned has the same benefits regarding immune system strengthening and it’s been shown to help with fussiness in little ones!
As with everything, please check with your OB and/or Midwife before seeking massage therapy if you are considered high risk or have experienced bleeding. Also, make sure that your therapist is certified in prenatal massage as there are pressure points that could cause more harm than good during pregnancy. Our chiropractors administer a treatment that is considered gentle and noninvasive which makes it a great choice for pregnant women and children. Rotary based moves deliver a lot of force and we do not recommend them during pregnancy or infancy so please find a chiropractor who does not rely heavily on those types of adjustments for your prenatal treatment.