How Chiropractic Helps You Have an EASIER Pregnancy
Pregnant women experience low back pain throughout their pregnancies. Pregnancy induced low back pain is very common and almost expected during any pregnancy. Think about it! Anyone who gains more than 25 lbs. of weight in 9 months would become uncomfortable in their body.
Throughout pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences posture changes as her belly and breasts grow in size. With the presence of relaxin, her ligaments become softer throughout her body and she does not have the same stability of her ligaments as she did before becoming pregnant. Especially in the third trimester when the baby doubles in size, increased weight gain in the front of the body and ligament laxity caused by relaxin can cause a pregnant woman’s pelvis to torsion quite naturally.
Pregnant women who have a torsioned pelvis can experience low back pain, pubic bone pain, sacroiliac joint pain either on one side or bilaterally, hip pain, knee and/or ankle pain.
What is a torsioned pelvis?
If you stand with your feet shoulder width apart, your weight should be naturally balanced on your midline. However, if your body weight shifts more to one leg than the other, your pelvis is more likely to torsion as a result.
The most common presentation of the pregnant pelvis that I see in my clinic is where the tailbone shifts towards the right side. So let’s use this scenario to describe the mechanics of a torsioned pelvis. If you feel like participating, simply stand up, place your feet shoulder width apart and shift your weight onto your right leg. Relax your left knee and let your left leg and buttock drop, just a bit. With your weight and your tailbone shifted to the right, you might notice the following changes in your posture:
The ligament that attaches to the left of your tailbone becomes tense and stretched. You might feel more tension in your left buttock closer to your tailbone.
Your left hip moves lower and back towards your buttock
Your right hip moves higher and frontwards towards your pubic bone
Your pubic bone points to the left
You feel tension in your outer right knee, your inner left knee and your right ankle
Imagine walking and moving and sitting with a pelvis permanently in that position. It would create physical pain throughout time, and this is the most common reason that pregnant women seek relief from chiropractic care.
The Posterior Shift of Pregnancy
There is another posture change that pregnant women experience in addition to that from a torsioned pelvis – the leaning back posture that results from compensating from the extra weight of your growing breasts and abdomen.
As your baby grows and develops, your body adapts to the changing baby within: your breasts become bigger to prepare for breastfeeding, the curve in your low back increases as your abdomen increases in size, and your shoulders and head tend to move forward to maintain your head over your feet. There is also a corresponding downward pulling of the pubic bone because of the extra baby weight, which then causes your tailbone to lift.
The posterior shift of pregnancy happens to every pregnant women, and indeed to some men with beer bellies. It is our natural way to position our head over our feet when there is an imbalance of weight on the front of our bodies.
What can you do to feel better?
Quite simply, get adjusted by a pregnancy focused chiropractor! Chiropractic adjustments can help you feel better and move easier in your always changing pregnant body. Chiropractors serve to relieve the discomfort you feel in your pelvis, sacroiliac joints, pubic bone, midback, upper and lower neck, hips, knees and feet. Our focus is always to keep your pelvis moving well, balanced and ready for birth.
What is Webster’s Technique?
Webster’s technique was developed by Dr. Larry Webster in 1978. This gentle and effective chiropractic technique helps to correct a torsioned pelvis by improving movement of the sacroiliac joints and by balancing the ligaments and muscles that attach to the pelvis. Webster’s technique is taught by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. It is the adjustment of choice, in my opinion, for pregnant women looking for relief of their pregnancy induced low back pain. More information about Webster’s Technique can be found at the end of this article.
How Can Chiropractic Adjustments help a Pregnant Woman?
Chiropractic adjustments (including Webster’s technique) help you feel more comfortable sleeping, sitting, standing, and walking. Benefits such as these are especially great in the third trimester because your baby doubles in size and your posture changes daily. Simply moving your body can be challenging at this point in pregnancy.
Chiropractic adjustments are safe and effective during pregnancy. We take extra care to make sure that pregnant women are comfortable throughout our treatments. We use pregnancy pillows and many of our adjusting tables can be configured to accommodate a growing belly, to the delight of our pregnant moms who get to lie comfortably on their stomachs for the first time in months. Many jokingly ask us to leave them there for a few minutes so that they can just lie face down in peace.
If you are pregnant and you experiencing pain in your back, neck, pelvis or extremities, please consult with a pregnancy focused chiropractor. Our goal is to help you feel better and move better, and to keep your pelvis in its optimal position throughout your pregnancy.
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focussed chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, an infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.