Chiropractic Care for Mama
Chiropractic Care for Mom's during Pregnancy
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. There are many different approaches to treatment that don’t involve “cracking” joints. With my prenatal patients I most often use a technique called drop piece adjusting, that allows mom to lie comfortably on a pregnancy pillow while the table does most of the work! 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
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 after birth. There's such a huge transition for babies going from being curled up in-utero for 9 months to being out in the world. Another factor to consider in terms of timing is when mom/dad 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 a be able to recognize any positional 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, here are a few that commonly present to the office. Head position (torticollis) or head shape (flattening) concerns, trouble with breastfeeding due to potential discomfort at the breast, latching issues related to tightness in the neck and jaw, fussiness in certain positions (tummy-time), or digestive troubles are a very common reason for an assessment. Generally we are looking for imbalances in ranges of motion/mobility, asymmetries in muscle tension and movement patterns.
It's very common that just a few treatments is all that is required to help sort things out with little babies. They don't hold onto tension like we do as adults, so some gentle releases can go a long way and quickly.
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.
Here's a great resource for more information on Chiropractic and Pediatrics http://icpa4kids.org/
Dr. Gillian's Local Resources for Mom & Baby
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.