As chiropractors that treat pregnant women in Springfield regularly, we know that pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life, but it can also be one of the most challenging times as well! When a woman carries a growing and developing child in her uterus, her body is constantly adapting to accommodate these changes. While the body is smart and knows what to do, these changes are often very difficult to endure for the mother-to-be. Add to that the fact that pregnancy is around 9 months long and you have a bonafide journey that a woman must endure in order to safely bring her little one into the world. Despite the challenges, though, it is a worthwhile and life-changing experience that culminates in the birth of new life, which should be celebrated!
The most common challenges that tend to present during pregnancy are musculoskeletal in nature. Notable changes in posture, movement, muscle balance, and joint mobility are practically guaranteed given the increase in belly size that comes with baby growth. The most common change to occur is a “sway back” which increases the curve of the lumbar spine (lower back). This causes the pelvis to shift forward, which creates postural and muscle imbalance throughout the spine. It also puts more pressure on these joints, which can increase pain in these areas. Another cause of joint discomfort is the release of a hormone called “relaxin” in the body. Relaxin is responsible for making rigid pelvic joints more mobile so that the birth canal can widen and the baby can be delivered naturally. Relaxin doesn’t just affect the pelvic joints, though. Because it is a hormone, it courses through the bloodstream and can affect all joints and ligaments of the body. This can lead to widespread discomfort in many different locations.
Because of the numerous musculoskeletal changes and the discomfort they can cause, chiropractors are extremely well-positioned to help pregnant women experience a more comfortable pregnancy and, ideally, a smooth labor and delivery process. At the Springfield Wellness Center, our doctors have helped countless women navigate their pregnancies and the various challenges that arise. They catch problems early before they become bigger problems, and provide their best recommendations for care to naturally treat pregnancy-related pain without the need for potentially harmful medications. Pregnancy ought to be an enjoyable and memorable experience, and it is our goal to assist in creating this experience for our pregnant patients.
How We Treat Pregnant Moms In Springfield, IL
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
Whether you are pregnant or not, any new patient at the Springfield Wellness Center starts their experience with a new patient consultation and exam. During the consultation, our doctors really get to know your story and the struggles you may be experiencing during your pregnancy. This provides valuable information that helps our doctors best understand the cause of your condition so that they can provide you with the right care recommendations to help.
After the consultation, the examination is performed. The doctors will go through various orthopedic and movement assessments to further understand the cause of your pain. They will also check your spine for subluxation, which is what chiropractors treat through chiropractic adjustments. If subluxation is present, it creates nerve interference which can affect how your body is able to communicate via the nervous system. A healthy nervous system is essential during pregnancy, as many changes occur within the body!
Chiropractic For Pregnant Moms | Springfield, IL
Chiropractic care is the foundation of the care provided at the Springfield Wellness Center, especially for pregnant patients! Due to the constant changes occurring in the body, along with the presence of the hormone relaxin in the bloodstream, subluxation happens both easily and frequently in the pregnant mother’s spine. These subluxations create pain and discomfort in many different areas such as the lower back, pelvis, mid-back, and neck. Chiropractors are the only doctors who are specially trained to identify and correct subluxations in the spine.
Because pregnancy is an ever-changing process, our doctors create a custom care plan for you so that you can get the care you need throughout that journey. Many times, visits will start out more frequently in order to help get you out of pain fast. Over time though, the visits will be more spread out but will still provide the support your spine needs to stay healthy and strong. The goal of all of this is to have a spine and nervous system functioning at their optimal level so that pregnancy, labor, and delivery may all proceed with as little to no complications as possible.
During pregnancy, the normal positioning of the baby in the uterus is head-down. In about 4% of pregnancies, however, the baby will be in what is known as a “breech” position, or a position where the baby is head-up. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common reasons for a c-section to be required for delivering the baby.
Webster Technique is a gentle chiropractic technique that involves correcting subluxation of the sacrum and its positioning in the pelvis. Sacral subluxation can cause more stress on the uterus, which can make it difficult for the baby to reposition in the normal head-down position. The technique also involves soft tissue work involving the round ligament of the uterus, which holds the uterus in position in the belly. By correcting the sacral subluxation and decreasing the tension on the uterus, it is more likely the baby will find its way into a healthy head-down position and be ready for a smoother, natural delivery!
Prenatal Massage Therapy
Another common treatment method we use with pregnant patients is pre-natal massage therapy. As the body continues to change during pregnancy, it places a great load on the muscles of the body to adapt to ever-increasing weight in addition to poorer movement mechanics. As a result, these muscles are often achy, stiff, and sore, which in turn makes everything else in life that much harder to accomplish for the expecting mother.
Massage therapy provides relief for these aching muscles and helps to decrease pain and muscle tension. It also improves mobility and makes it easier for the individual to move around and perform everyday activities. The impact that massage can have is not just limited to the physical benefits, however. It also provides an opportunity for the mother to relax in a quiet setting, which can be refreshing from a mental health standpoint. When combined with chiropractic care, massage therapy can have a tremendous impact on pregnant patients and really help them enjoy the pregnancy process a lot more.
Custom Pregnancy Exercise Plan
Even though it can feel difficult to exercise when pregnant, it is actually one of the best things you can do! Exercise helps to keep the muscles strong and engaged, which provides great support for the lower back and pelvis. It also helps to maintain good upright posture as well, which tends to fade the further along you get in your pregnancy. Overall, it is one of the best things you can do for both you and your baby if you are able to exercise.
At the Springfield Wellness Center, our trainers will design a custom exercise plan for you that will help you reap the benefits without causing more stress on the body. It is understood that the further along you are in your pregnancy, the worse your posture will get. Despite this, putting in work will not only help you through the rest of the pregnancy but will also lay down foundations for your movement capabilities and posture once you have your baby. Postpartum care is just as important as prenatal care, and our doctors and trainers will guide you through this process safely and effectively.
Common Causes of Pregnancy Pain
Lower Back Pain
Perhaps the most common of all types of pain associated with pregnancy is lower back pain. This is caused by many different physiological changes that occur in the body during pregnancy. First, the weight gain that comes with a growing baby, along with elevated water levels, causes postural changes such as swaying of the lower back (increased bend). This increases pressure on the joints of the lumbar spine which can increase pain and exacerbate pre-existing subluxations. Also, both muscle and hormonal changes can cause instability in the lower back. Muscle separation in the abdominal muscles causes the lumbar spine to be weaker and less stable, while the hormone relaxin furthers spinal instability by causing the ligaments to be looser.
Thankfully, lower back pain from pregnancy can be managed naturally and effectively at the Springfield Wellness Center. A custom exercise plan can ensure that your muscles stay engaged and provide enough stability in the lower back to keep you comfortable. Chiropractic adjustments can alleviate pain due to joint misalignment and help keep the spine moving and functioning properly. There are also effective ways that you can manage pregnancy-related lower back pain at home. Alternating ice and heat can provide both pain relief and a means for allowing muscles to relax and release tension that can build up. Stretching is another great way to alleviate achy muscle tension.
Pelvic Pain is another extremely common pain that is experienced during pregnancy, and it is completely understandable! After all, the pelvis undergoes some of the most drastic changes that are required for the baby to be delivered. Each side of the pelvis is composed of 3 distinct bones, and the joints that connect these bones are typically very rigid and do not move. However, during pregnancy due to the hormone relaxin, these joints become looser to allow the birth canal to widen so the baby can fit during the delivery process. While this is extremely important, it can also be very uncomfortable.
From a biomechanical standpoint, chiropractic adjustments can help ease pelvic pain by ensuring that the sacroiliac joints are in proper alignment. Massage can also be effective in easing the tension that can irritate the lower back and upper gluteal muscles surrounding the pelvis. There are many other causes of pelvic pain, though. Occurrences such as ovarian cysts, constipation, Braxton Hicks contractions, and urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also cause pelvic pain. It is important that you address any pain you are having with your health care providers to make sure that further interventions are not required.
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)
Taking a deeper dive into pelvic pain, one of the most common causes of pain in this area is dysfunction at the symphysis pubis. This is a joint where the 2 pubic bones from both sides of the body join together. It is located in the very lower aspect of the abdomen just above the genitalia. The hormone relaxin makes this otherwise rigid joint feel loose, which is important for birth canal widening, but it also causes a great deal of discomfort in pregnant women. One of the other factors that increases pain in this region is increasing baby weight and water weight that sits on top of this joint over weeks and months during the pregnancy.
Up to 60% of pregnant women experience SPD, but the good news is that it can be managed. Our doctors at the Springfield Wellness Center utilize special adjusting techniques to help alleviate pressure and pain on this joint and provide some much-needed relief. Receiving this treatment in conjunction with your routine spinal adjustment can allow you to function normally in everyday life and do all of the things you need to do!
It is estimated that 39% of pregnant women experience either prenatal or postpartum headaches. They can be in the form of migraine headaches, tension headaches, and even cluster headaches that occur around the same time each day. During the first trimester of pregnancy, common causes of headaches include hormonal changes, increased blood volume, dehydration, nausea, stress, caffeine withdrawal, and more. In other words, it is very easy to get headaches during this time! Second and third-trimester headaches can include muscle tension or strain due to postural stress, blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and insomnia.
At The Springfield Wellness Center, our doctors are experts in treating headaches, and they will work with you to address the cause of your headaches so you can get back to feeling your best. Headaches can be debilitating, so it is important to seek help if you are regularly suffering from them. Chiropractic, exercise, massage, and acupuncture are some of the services offered that can help eliminate your headaches so you can enjoy more of your pregnancy and the anticipation of your little one arriving.
Sciatica is a painful condition in which pain travels down one or both of the legs. It usually stems from a problem in your spine in which the nerves are being compressed either by vertebrae out of place (subluxation) or a disc herniation that is irritating the nerve. Sciatica is very prevalent during pregnancy primarily because of the extra weight in the belly that causes the lower back to sway backward. This can either lead to compression of these nerves or exacerbate pre-existing nerve compression.
The great news for pregnant women who are suffering from sciatica is that there are ways to effectively, naturally, and safely treat sciatica. Chiropractic adjustments are a wonderful way to correct subluxation patterns that are contributing to your sciatic symptoms. Massage therapy is another great way to ease the tension of muscles like the piriformis muscles that can irritate the sciatic nerve. If you are suffering from sciatica during pregnancy, you don’t have to just deal with it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is chiropractic safe during pregnancy?
Not only is it safe, it is recommended during pregnancy. There are lots of changes that happen to the spine and pelvis during pregnancy. Many of these changes can bring aches and pains. Chiropractic can help manage the pain and discomfort of pregnancy so that the expecting mother can enjoy her pregnancy and be able to perform activities of daily living with as little discomfort as possible.
When should you start seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy?
The earlier, the better! If you can start achieving better alignment and posture before many of the significant structural changes to the spine occur, you can reduce the amount of discomfort you will experience in a significant manner. Chiropractic is completely safe for both you and your baby, and it can lead to a much more enjoyable pregnancy experience for everyone.
Can chiropractic adjustments cause miscarriage?
No. Chiropractic is a gentle, natural, and safe way to manipulate the spine to affect the nervous system. It helps the expecting mother’s spine function more optimally, which in turn keeps her healthier and stronger. There is no risk whatsoever to the baby in the uterus.
How do you relieve lower back pain during pregnancy?
There are many ways to relieve pregnancy-related lower back pain naturally. These include chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, ice and heat, stretching, acupuncture. Conveniently all of these services are available in Springfield, IL under one roof at the Springfield Wellness Center.
Is it normal for your pelvis to hurt during pregnancy?
Absolutely. There are many changes occurring in the pelvis to prepare your body to deliver a baby through the birth canal. These changes cause pain and discomfort in the pelvis, but that doesn’t mean that you have to just deal with that pain for the entire duration of your pregnancy! The Springfield Wellness Center chiropractors can help decrease your pelvic pain so you can get back to living your everyday life while your little one grows and develops each day!