Chiropractic Care for Mama
Getting adjusted during pregnancy ... not "cracked"
I find this the MOST common question from mamas... "Are you going to "crack" me?! This is my favorite question and the answer is no! There are very specific treatment techniques that are utilized during pregnancy to keep in mind the comfort and changes that go on in the pregnant body. I most often use a technique called drop piece adjusting, that allows mom to lie comfortably on a pregnancy pillow. Mama's are often so surprised at how gentle the adjusting really feels.
How often will I need to come?
The typical chiropractic care schedule for pregnant moms is very similar to the frequency at which they see their other care providers (midwives, OBGYNs). For the first 6 months, 1 time per month is all we need to keep an eye on the pelvic structures and maintain their function and balance. During months 7 and 8 the optimal schedule is twice a month and for the last month leading up to delivery its best to check the pelvic joints once a week. Incorporating treatment like acupuncture in that last month can also be really helpful in preparing the body for labour along with adjusting the pelvic joints.
Reducing Labour times with Chiropractic
Research shows that with first time mothers receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy, average labour time was reduced by 24%. For second or third births the reduction in labour time, if under chiropractic care, was 39%. Other studies show that pregnant women receiving chiropractic care in the third trimester were able to carry and deliver with more comfort. Also, pain medication during delivery was reduced by half in patients under regular chiropractic care. Reason enough for me to get adjusted while I'm pregnant!
Webster Technique and Breech Babies
Many women seek Chiropractic care in the 3rd trimester after their doctor or midwife has discovered the baby is breech. There is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment called the Webster Technique designed to restore the optimal alignment in the pelvis, surrounding muscles and ligaments to help prepare mom/baby for labor. Essentially if the bones of the pelvis are moving well, and the ligaments that connect to the uterus are at an optimal, balanced tension it may affect how the uterus functions during labour, how pelvis moves during labor and how the baby is able to position itself for birth. When the misalignment with corrected with the Webster technique it may have a positive effect on these things that contribute to difficult labour.
Chiropractic Care for Baby
So often parents will end up in my office because a friend or family member shared a story with them about how Chiropractic treatments helped their baby with a specific symptom associated with colic, reflux, digestive issues or head shape concerns. There can be hesitation from parents with the assumption that a Chiropractic adjustment for their newborn would be too aggressive. This couldn't be further from the truth. To treat an infant, the amount of pressure required is much like the pressure you'd use handling a very ripe tomato or when putting contact lenses in. The adjustment is more like a gentle hold on specific structures on and around the spine. It's so common for little ones to sleep through their treatments.
When, how often to come and for what?
It's great to come within the first month. It really depends on when mom is feeling ready to leave the house. I know for me it took a good couple of weeks to get to know my little one and be able to recognize any patterns or "symptoms". Many come initially for a "well -baby" check-up. The purpose here is to take a look at alignment, infantile reflexes, check muscle tone, balance and movement of the joints. When it comes to specific concerns, symptoms such as excessive spitting up, colic, head position or shape concerns, fussiness in certain positions (tummy-time), or digestive issues are a very common reason for a check-up. Although the adjustments aren't "treating the symptoms" it is very common that when the spinal structures are balanced and the nervous system able to function optimally these issues seem to sort themselves out. It's so common that just a few treatments is all that is required to help sort things out with little babies. Beyond that my general recommendation is to check in at developmental milestones such as rolling, crawling and walking to assess for symmetry and functional movement.
For more information on Chiropractic and Pediatrics:
The ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) certifies Chiropractors world wide in the care of pregnant women and their babies.