During pregnancy, there are many remarkable changes taking place within a mother’s body. Not only is she providing nourishment and a comfortable safe environment for baby to grow in, she is also preparing her own body to bring baby out into the world. Although pregnancy is a beautiful process, it is often not without discomforts.
Many complaints associated with pregnancy are musculoskeletal in nature – things like low back pain, sciatica, groin or pubic bone pain, and headaches. There are two important factors that work hand-in-hand to bring about these discomforts: the hormone relaxin and the fact that the mother must gain and support extra weight during a relatively short period of time.
Relaxin is a very important hormone that is released primarily during the first and third trimesters. One of the main roles of this hormone is to prepare the mother’s body to carry within itself a full-sized baby and to then allow passage of the baby during labor. Relaxin, as the name suggests, causes the ligaments and joints in the mother’s body to relax or loosen. This loosening becomes especially important as the baby passes through the birth canal because the birth canal lies within a closed circle of bones and joints.
As baby grows, mom’s belly enlarges and her spine and pelvis must support the additional weight. The normal curvatures of the spine exaggerate to accommodate the growing abdomen resulting in a center of gravity shift. Areas of the spine and pelvis that were previously less burdened receive a great deal more weight and stress on their structures.
Between the hormone relaxin working to loosen joints and the significant shifts in spinal support, the mother’s body becomes more susceptible to spinal or pelvic joint misalignments. These misalignments can alter the way that the body functions and trigger pain signals.
Changes in spinal curves may mean that the neck musculature attempts to provide more support resulting in tension headaches. Center of gravity shifts and additional weight places extra stress on the loosened joints of the low back and pelvis, often resulting in low back pain and pubic symphysis (the joint between the left and right pubic bones) dysfunction. Finally, the sciatic nerve, which is actually a bundle of nerves that originates from the low back and pelvis, can become irritated when there is excess pull on the low back and pelvic structures. The important thing to remember with all of these discomforts is that the pain itself is the body’s way of requesting change; These symptoms are a result of structural shifts that are occurring and your body’s way of requesting correction.
The good news is that becoming pregnant is not a sentence for musculoskeletal discomforts. Many women find that chiropractic care, provided by a pregnancy certified practitioner, can address these discomforts or prevent them from occurring at all by correcting the underlying cause: spinal and pelvic misalignments.
In my office, I help my pregnant patients stay comfortable throughout the duration of their pregnancy and as they prepare for labor by correcting their joint misalignment(s). The Webster Technique is a specific method I use to analyze the neuro biomechanical function of the pelvis, which is a fancy way of saying: is there nerve involvement and are the pelvic joints functioning correctly? After analyzing my patient, I deliver a gentle and specific adjustment of the pelvis to restore its normal (optimal) position and function. After the adjustment, light trigger point massage in applied and assists in releasing soft tissue structures contributing to and maintaining the misalignment pattern.
What about you?
Have you been to a chiropractor during your pregnancy? Are you looking for relief during your pregnancy and wondering if chiropractic could help? Please leave your comments below!
Would you like to have a more comfortable pregnancy? Call Wellspring Chiropractic to schedule your complimentary consultation today!