Many people are unsure if they should see a prenatal chiropractor during pregnancy.
Chiropractors are trained healthcare providers in the neuro-musculoskeletal system. Meaning, their main area of focus is the muscles, nerves and joints of the human body. When looking at prenatal chiropractors, they often have extensive education in pregnancy-related care and focus on the muscle, nerve and joint health during pregnancy. Prenatal chiropractic care has two main categories, pain-related and wellness-focused. Both of these categories benefit from chiropractic care, and a pregnant person can move from one category to another throughout their pregnancy.
Pain-related pregnancy care
During pregnancy, the body goes through changes at every level; physical, mental, spiritual and physiological. The most visible change is the abdominal weight gain. This causes the pelvis to tilt and the low back to hyperextend, potentially leading to low back and pelvic girdle pain. This pain can come from the muscles, joints and/or nerves of the low back and pelvis.
The abdominal weight gain also changes the person’s centre of gravity, causing the body to compensate. Most commonly this leads to tightened glute muscles, and later the “pregnancy waddle”. It is important to note that an ideal pregnant person, does not waddle. Waddling is a sign that the body is not adapting well to the pregnancy-related changes, and the glutes are overcompensating.
The body will continue to compensate to the ongoing changes. The pregnant person may experience midback or neck pain, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica and/or round ligament pain. Often these are secondary pains, strains, syndromes or ailments, due to poor biomechanics in the body. The goal is to find the root cause of the pain. Is it the pelvic tilt? How is the low back at rest? Is it too much or too little movement through the spine? When the root cause is identified, a proper diagnosis and care plan can be communicated.
The good news is chiropractic care can be a safe and effective way to reduce or eliminate pregnancy-related pain from head to toes. Pain-related pregnancy care can include, adjustments, mobilizations, soft tissue therapy, exercises and/or lifestyle modifications.
Wellness-focused pregnancy care
Pregnancy can be pain-free, relaxed and enjoyable. We promise you, it exists!
Prenatal wellness care looks at how we can better support the changes happening during pregnancy. Although every pregnancy is unique and different, there are some general guidelines and understandings of what occurs throughout pregnancy. A good example of this is knowing that as baby grows, the pelvis will tilt and the low back will compensate by extending. In knowing this, we can better prepare the body before this change happens. This may involve at-home exercises, adjustments, mobilizations, postural considerations, soft tissue therapy or verbal cuing. Wellness prenatal care aims to maintain mobility and function throughout the spine and pelvis to reduce the risk of pain and discomfort, as well as have pelvis aligned for optimal fetus positioning.
Wellness-focused pregnancy care can start whenever the pregnant person is comfortable. If wellness-focused care is your goal, we like to recommend seeing a prenatal chiropractor as soon as possible, as every pregnancy is different.
The Crescent Health Team
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