When to Start Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy?
Soon-to-be mothers have a lot of decisions to make. What health care provider to choose? What prenatal vitamin to take? What kind of exercise to start? Birth Center or Hospital? One question that may be floating on your mind, “When should I start chiropractic care?”
Being a chiropractor, you probably know my answer to that question. The truth is, there are about four different answers to the question. Each one may be suitable for different women. Let me talk you through each scenario…
1. I’m in pain, my body really doesn’t like being pregnant.
You may want to start chiropractic care as soon as pain begins. This may be early in pregnancy, or maybe not until your second or third trimester. It’s no surprise you are in pain, your body is changing and growing at a very rapid rate. Increasing weight on the front of your body (breasts and belly growing) causes the muscles and joints to work harder on the back side to keep you standing up straight. Increased stress to your joints and muscles can cause inflammation and pain. Having your spine assessed and adjusted can help decrease local inflammation and improve your mechanical function. Often, this results in decreased, or even elimination of pain and a more comfortable pregnancy.
2. I have occasional aches and pains, but overall I’m handling pregnancy pretty well.
As I mentioned before, starting chiropractic care as soon as pain begins, improves your outcome. If you let “minor aches and pains” go untreated, they may fester into a bigger problem as you progress through pregnancy. If you get to the issue before it evolves, pain and discomfort may be manageable with home exercises and stretches.
3. My baby is breech and I’m at risk for having a C-section.
Babies are expected to turn “head down” around week 30 of pregnancy, but it is not uncommon for them to flip between week 30-34. Some babies even flip as late as week 36-37. Many obstetricians will plan an External Cephalic Version (ECV) at week 36-37 if baby is still breech, in hopes to flip baby head down for a vaginal birth. If baby is still breech in the last weeks of pregnancy, the chances of having a C-section increase greatly. If your goal is to avoid a C-section, you should begin chiropractic care at the beginning of your third trimester, or around weeks 28-30. Now I don’t want to mislead you. Chiropractic care does NOT flip babies. What chiropractic care can do for you is create an optimal environment (more space) for the baby to move into the “head down” position on their own. It may be as simple as your pelvic floor muscles and ligaments are too tight, causing torsion within your pelvis, preventing the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth. Changing the position and function of the pelvic joints and muscles (through the chiropractic adjustment) may be what your baby is waiting for to flip.
4. I have no issues but I’m trying to achieve a comfortable pregnancy and natural birth.
To achieve the best possible pregnancy and delivery, you’d be doing yourself a favor to start chiropractic care as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Starting chiropractic care before your body changes so drastically, will help your joints and muscles take on postural changes and increased stress easier. By creating optimal function of your spine and nervous system, you will be able to handle hormonal, structural, and postural changes better. It is easier to prevent pain and complications, than to fix them.
No matter what category you fall into, chiropractic care can benefit your pregnancy in some way. It is never too late or too early to begin treatment. If you have specific questions or concerns regarding chiropractic care, discuss them with your chiropractor. If you are in need of a prenatal chiropractor in your area, visit www.icpa4kids.org to find a doctor.