Chiropractic and Wellness Services for a Healthier you
The average weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds, combined with the increased stress placed on the body by the baby, may result in severe discomfort.
Studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers will develop low-back pain at some point during their pregnancies.
This is especially true during late pregnancy, when the baby's head presses down on a woman's back, legs, and buttocks, irritating her sciatic nerve. And for those who already suffer from low-back pain, the problem can become even worse.
During pregnancy, a woman's center of gravity almost immediately begins to shift forward to the front of her pelvis. Although a woman's sacrum-or posterior section of the pelvis-has enough depth to enable her to carry a baby, the displaced weight still increases the stress on her joints. As the baby grows in size, the woman's weight is projected even farther forward, and the curvature of her lower back is increased, placing extra stress on the spinal disks. In compensation, the normal curvature of the upper spine increases, as well.
While these changes sound dramatic, pregnancy hormones help loosen the ligaments attached to the pelvic bones. But even these natural changes designed to accommodate the growing baby can result in postural imbalances, making pregnant women prone to having awkward trips and falls.
What Can You Do?
The ACA recommend the following tips for pregnant women:
Health and Safety
Pregnancy Ergonomics: Your Bed and Desk
How Can Your Doctor of Chiropractic Help?
Before you become pregnant, your doctor of chiropractic can detect any imbalances in the pelvis or elsewhere in your body that could contribute to pregnancy discomfort or possible neuromusculoskeletal problems after childbirth.
Many pregnant women have found that chiropractic adjustments provide relief from the increased low-back pain brought on by pregnancy. Chiropractic manipulation is safe for the pregnant woman and her baby and can be especially attractive to those who are trying to avoid medications in treating their back pain. Doctors of chiropractic can also offer nutrition, ergonomic, and exercise advice to help a woman enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
Chiropractic care can also help after childbirth. In the eight weeks following labor and delivery, the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy begin to tighten up again. Ideally, joint problems brought on during pregnancy from improper lifting or reaching should be treated before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state-to prevent muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort, and shoulder problems.
For More Information
To find more information on prevention and wellness, or to find a doctor of chiropractic near you, go to Patient Information section on the ACA's Web site at www.acatoday.com or call 800-986-4636.
Felicity Feather, MPA, ACA Communications Vice President, Writer
Jerome McAndrews, DC, Consultant
Carol Kline, MA, and Nataliya Schetchikova, PhD, Editors
David Cundiff, MA, Art Director
The For Your Health patient page is a public service of the Journal of the American Chiropractic Association. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for a diagnosis by a specialist. For specific information concerning your health condition, consult your doctor of chiropractic. This page may be reproduced noncommercially by doctors of chiropractic and other healthcare professionals to educate patients. Any other reproduction is subject to ACA approval.
Reprinted with the permission of the American Chiropractic Association.
CHIROPRACTIC ADVICE for MOMS-TO-BE
As many new mothers can attest, the muscle strains of pregnancy are very real and can be more than just a nuisance.