There are so many ways that chiropractic care can help with pregnancy and babies! I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Michelle Peck, owner of Wissota Chiropractic. She answered some common questions that doulas receive about chiropractic care and how it can be a huge asset during pregnancy and early childhood.
What can you tell me about how pregnancy affects the body's alignment?
The postural changes of pregnancy have a profound effect on many areas of the body.
As the baby grows and the uterus expands the pelvis tips forward, the pubic bone and sacrum move backward increasing the curve in the lower back, and the ribcage also expands dramatically to allow space for the lungs as the uterus fills the abdominal cavity pushing everything up and out of the way. Muscles and ligaments must also tighten or shorten to adapt and compensate for these postural changes. Pregnancy hormones stimulate lengthening and laxity in these ligaments to allow the pelvic outlet to expand during labor and delivery.
Ligament laxity leaves joints more vulnerable to injury particularly the ankles, knees, pubis, sacroiliacs, spine, shoulders and wrists. Increased risk of nerve compression such as Sciatica, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are also effects of this. These are all musculoskeletal conditions that chiropractic care is geared at preventing, counteracting and correcting.
How can chiropractic care be helpful during pregnancy?
Chiropractic care helps keep the pelvis balanced and symmetrical making sure that one leg isn’t shorter or longer, one hip isn’t rotated forward, and the pelvic floor isn’t twisted or shorter on one side causing baby to turn to an unfavorable position.
Posture and muscle tension affect uterine ligaments and tone. The effect comes from habit. Uneven postures used habitually over time can tilt the pelvis and tighten uterine and cervical ligaments on one side, twisting the uterus.
Sometimes simply adding balance makes the difference!
What does it mean when a chiropractor is Webster trained?
The Webster Technique is a chiropractic technique used during pregnancy to optimize pelvic function. Because pelvic imbalance and sacral misalignment may contribute to difficult labor for the mother, the Webster Technique is most known for its clinical application in pregnant women.
When these imbalances are present there is tightening and torsion of specific pelvic muscles and ligaments having an aberrant effect on the uterus which may prevent the baby from being able to get into the most comfortable position for birth. Aligning the pelvis and associated muscles and ligaments helps to facilitate optimal fetal positioning such as breech or posterior presentations moving to proper positioning following an adjustment.
The Webster technique is not limited to pregnancy and has been proven valuable in the evaluation and treatment of all populations needing improved pelvic function.
A common complaint during pregnancy is round ligament pain. Can chiropractic care help?
Yes! The round ligament is actually made up of smooth muscle fibers where most ligaments aren’t. That sharp, shooting pain in the lower abdomen upon coughing, standing or rolling in bed is that ligament tightening. The ligament stretches as the uterus grows making it more likely to become strained. As chiropractic care restores proper pelvic balance and biomechanics the ligament strain is lessened.
How can a chiropractor help pregnant women and babies who suffer from acid reflux, colic and immune function?
Understanding how chiropractic works is simple. The nervous system regulates every
process and function of the body. Misalignments in joints can cause nerve interference and a chiropractic adjustment helps reduce that interference. Nerve interference diminishes the signals reaching the organs, including the stomach. If left untreated, the stomach and digestive tract will go into a state of dysfunction, and eventually disease.
The birthing process itself, pulling and torqueing an infant’s neck, is enough for that first misalignment to occur and nerve interference to begin. That is why it’s so important for babies to be checked by a chiropractor as soon as possible. Since their brain and spine are rapidly growing while they’re learning, tumbling and falling it is crucial to stay on a routine chiropractic wellness schedule for optimal nervous system function and development.
Why is it that babies seem to sleep forever after an adjustment?
Chiropractic care removes stress and interference to the body and allows it to function how it’s intended to. Babies are left feeling comfortable and happy!
We extend our gratitude to everyone at Wissota Chiropractic, including Dr. Michelle Peck, for all the incredible work they do to support and improve the wellness of families throughout Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire , and the rest of the Chippewa Valley!
We are also excited to announce the continuation of collaboration between Eau Claire Doulas and Wissota Chiropractic to provide our community with biweekly discussion and support groups for local parents!