Benefits of Prenatal Chiropractic Care
As many new mothers know, the muscle strains of pregnancy are very real and can be more than just a nuisance. 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 around half of all expectant mothers will develop low-back pain at some point during their pregnancy. 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 centre of gravity almost immediately begins to shift forward to the front of her pelvis. This displaced weight 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 discs. 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 extra aches and pains.
Chiropractic care can
- Correct vertebral misalignment and relieve pressure with gentle and effective adjustments.
- Help ensure that pelvic bones are properly aligned.
- Re-establish the natural position and mobility of the joints.
- Relax over tight muscles that are under strain.
What Can You Do?
- Safe exercise during pregnancy can help strengthen your muscles and prevent discomfort. Try exercising at least three times a week, gently stretching before and after exercise. If you weren't active before your pregnancy, check with your doctor before starting or continuing any exercise.
- Walking, swimming, and stationary cycling are relatively safe cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women because they do not require jerking or bouncing movements. Jogging can be safe for women who were avid runners before becoming pregnant - if done carefully and under a doctor's supervision.
- Be sure to exercise in an area with secure footing to minimize the likelihood of falls. Your heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute during exercise. Strenuous activity should last no more than 15 minutes at a time.
- Stop your exercise routine immediately if you notice any unusual symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding, dizziness, nausea, weakness, blurred vision, increased swelling, or heart palpitations.
- Wear flat, sensible shoes. High or chunky heels can exacerbate postural imbalances and make you less steady on your feet, especially as your pregnancy progresses.
- When picking up children, bend from the knees, not the waist. And never turn your head when you lift. Avoid picking up heavy objects, if possible.
- Get plenty of rest. Pamper yourself and ask for help if you need it. Take a nap if you're tired, or lie down and elevate your feet for a few moments when you need a break.