I am often encountered with two comments about pregnancy and chiropractic the first is,”Why should a woman have chiropractic care during pregnancy?” and the other is “I wish I knew about chiropractic care for my (earlier) pregnancy”.
So why should women be under chiropractic care during pregnancy? Chiropractors have been taking care of women during pregnancy for over one hundred years. It isn’t something new. Yet it still isn’t a regular prenatal preparation for most women during pregnancy. Chiropractic care should be an essential part of your prenatal care, just as much as exercise, eating correctly and prenatal vitamins. Women who are under chiropractic care are getting the benefit of a better running nervous system and a better functioning body. When under chiropractic care many women benefit from less low back pain, reduced incidence of dystocia, less discomfort in the round ligaments and pelvis, optimal pelvic balance, better digestion and less constipation, less stress, reduced labor times, less back labor, reduced need for interventions or pain medication, less postpartum depression and easier transition to breastfeeding, to name a few common things.
Chiropractic care helps to restore proper biomechanical function of the spine and pelvis creating more fluid, and optimal, movement. In short, it lessens restrictions and improves function. During pregnancy your body is adapting to biomechanical changes and stresses. We are designed to do this, and should be able to do it comfortably, but if there is dysfunction before getting pregnant, the added stress will often lead to symptoms. Those symptoms are considered normal but are not normal at all. For example, back pain, heartburn, pelvic discomfort, pubic bone pain, dystocia and headaches are a few symptoms that patients are told are a normal part of pregnancy.
The BIG reason that pregnancy chiropractic care is essential is the role it plays in your neurological system. The central nervous system is housed in the skull and spinal column and the peripheral nervous system branches off, exiting the spine and heading out to control every muscle, organ, tissue and cell in our body. If there is disruption in the function of the nervous system, through improper motion in the spinal column and pelvis, it affects the function of the entire body down to a cellular level. In a nutshell, chiropractic care helps to create an optimal neural functioning in your body. So my question is, “When is it in the best interest of your health and development of a new baby to not have a properly functioning nervous system?”
Unfortunately, you may not even be aware that your body isn’t functioning at its best without being analyzed correctly. Symptoms are a bad judge of function. Have you ever heard of a person who looks and acts healthy,maybe they exercise, are at optimal weight and even eat great? Then at their doctor’s visit they find out they have a devastating disease? Obviously they were having health challenges even though they didn’t have obvious symptoms to tell them they were having those challenges.That is because we have a great ability to compensate for malfunction and our body needs to be in a great deal of challenge before our alarm bells (our symptoms) start to go off. There is a large range from optimal function to disease. As chiropractors we want to keep you in the upper range of optimal function to help you be your healthiest and happiest.
During pregnancy is the best time to be at optimal functioning. While chiropractic is great at reducing symptoms once they start, it is an even better idea to receive care before we are chasing symptoms so your baby can have the best environment for growth and development and so you can have the most comfortable and enjoyable pregnancy and delivery.
The ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy. Ideally a family would start care before conceiving to create the optimum environment for baby from conception.
So now that you know the why of, why should a woman have chiropractic during pregnancy, don’t be the person that says, “I wish I knew about chiropractic for my pregnancy.” Now you know.
Dr. Cheryl graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 2000. In 2003, Dr. Cheryl earned her Pediatric Certificate of Proficiency and became Webster Technique Certified. She has focused a large portion of her practice on working with pregnant women, children and families although she sees patients of all ages.
Dr. Cheryl is an outspoken advocate for natural, drug-free birth and life, and speaks to empower women on their birth choices. She also does workshops on causes of birth trauma and chiropractic’s role in restoring and maintaining a healthier life for both mother and child.
To learn more feel free to contact Dr. Schmitt at www.vitalchiro.com. She will also be holding a workshop on Wednesday, June 28th at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op at 6pm and giving a one hour presentation on Chiropractic and Pregnancy titled, “Beautifully Delivered: A workshop for parents seeking a beautiful birth.”