Chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to manage musculoskeletal and postural changes that occur during pregnancy and often lead to discomforts. Many providers describe these as “normal” aches and pains. “Normal” does not mean it is something you just have to deal with and manage through.
During pregnancy, we utilize the Webster Technique to provide balance to the pelvis joints, muscles and ligaments and relieve or reduce the commonly experienced discomforts. A recent study has found that of those who seek chiropractic care during pregnancy, 75% find pain relief.
Low Back Pain
Pain in the low back is common during pregnancy as your center of gravity shifts forward putting increased mechanical stress on your lumbar spine. Muscles tighten to compensate for this change often leading to discomfort and imbalance from left to right sides. As your pelvis prepares for birth, many also notices a change in their gait, or pattern of walking, often feeling like they are “waddling” due to the wider stance the wider pelvis requires. This is a normal biomechanical change, but still a change that your body must adapt. We can help that process be less uncomfortable most of the time.
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The hormone Relaxin has been present throughout your pregnancy. Produced by the placenta, one of its primary functions is to prepare the pelvis for birth by R-E-L-A-X-I-N-G the ligaments. This ligament laxity allows the typically very stable sacroiliac joints to have the increased mobility required for birth. (During labor, your sacrum actually moves backwards increasing the diameter of the pelvis!) Outside of labor, this excessive movement can cause pain due to the increased demands placed on the ligaments and muscle for compensatory stability. The sacroiliac joints are located on your back, where you might find a pair of dimples at the top of the pelvis.
Sciatic Nerve Pain
Your glutes and external hip rotators participate in that compensatory muscle tightness to stabilize the sacroiliac joints. One of those muscles is called the Piriformis and it lives deep to your gluteal muscles. When this muscle tightens, it can clamp down on the sciatic nerve causing a real pain in the butt, or even down the back of your leg. It is also possible for the growing uterus to apply direct pressure to this nerve inside the pelvis.
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)
The pubic symphysis is the front joint of the two halves of your pelvis, commonly referred to as just the pubic bones. This is a stable but moveable joint that participates in movement with the sacroiliac joints. #Relaxin also affects this joint allowing for increased movement to increase the diameter of the pelvis. Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction causes pain is this area often described as: “ripping” or “tearing” sensation, “lightning pain” in the groin, and/or “pinching”, aching or sharpness in the leg creases or inner thigh.
Round Ligament Pain
The round ligaments of the uterus anchor the front side of the uterus to the labia and other lower pelvic soft tissues helping the uterus to maintain the proper tilt. As the uterus grows, so too do these ligaments stretch and thicken to accommodate. Stretching of these ligaments is typically felt in the second trimester in the lower abdomen or groin. Sudden, rapid movements like transitioning from seated to standing. coughing, sneezing, laughing, rolling over in bed,
While Chiropractic during pregnancy does not seek to address baby or change baby’s positioning, we do know that one of the causes of breech and transverse positioning can be improper balance of the joints, muscles, and ligaments of the pelvis causing torsion. Typically, we see that the psoas muscle or the round ligament can be tight enough on one side to prevent baby from having the room they need to achieve proper positioning. This is not always the cause of mal-positioning, but having a balanced pelvis can only help you more readily achieve your birth plan.
In our office, we also utilize Spinning Babies techniques during these situations. #SpinningBabies provides stretching protocols for specific positioning issues, as well as daily stretches to maintain balance throughout your entire pregnancy. Some can be done easily at home, others may require professional help, instruction, or judgement of safety.
Did you know your Chiropractor can help with your prenatal nutrition? Whether through providing higher quality prenatal vitamins that don’t give you heartburn and contain all of the necessary nutrients, addressing morning sickness, supporting your liver through cholestasis of pregnancy, or just finding healthy alternatives to foods you can’t eat right now. We’ve got your back!
Read more about Prenatal Chiropractic here.