Congratulations on entering a very exciting time of your life! We have a lot of prenatal chiropractic information available for you.
Seeing a qualified chiropractor during your pregnancy may be one of the best things you can do for yourself. More and more women are becoming interested in taking back control over their birth. Many are discovering what an important role specialized prenatal chiropractic care has in helping them achieve the birth they want.
Whether this is your first pregnancy or your fifth, you’re in for a lot of excitement. Prenatal chiropractic care can enable you to experience the wonders of pregnancy and childbirth with less risk of medical interventions and less discomfort.
Some women have a lot of questions about the safety of chiropractic care during pregnancy. Chiropractic care is not only safe, but it is highly beneficial to both mom and baby.
One of the side effects of prenatal chiropractic care is a 50% shorter labor! When was the last time you heard a positive side effect? Reports also show that the need for medical intervention during labor greatly decreases in women who have prenatal chiropractic care. For women who are carrying a breech baby (that’s when the baby’s feet or rear end are facing down) or transverse baby (that’s when the baby is lying on its side), prenatal chiropractic care can help them to avoid an invasive Cesarean section. Webster’s Technique is very successful in restoring balance to the muscles and ligaments of the pelvis. This decreases constraint on the uterus enabling a baby to obtain an optimal birth position.
“It is our personal theory that chiropractic attention in pregnancy not only helps avoid or relieve back pain, but also can affect your labor by helping your back and pelvic structures be better prepared to handle the stresses of labor and birth.” William Sears, M.D
Prenatal chiropractic care benefits all aspects of your body’s ability to be healthy. This is accomplished by working with the nervous system–the communication system between your brain and body. Doctors of prenatal chiropractic work to correct spinal, pelvic and cranial misalignments (subluxations). When misaligned, these structures create an imbalance in surrounding muscles and ligaments. Additionally, the resulting nerve system stress may affect the body’s ability to function optimally.
Webster Technique is a special prenatal chiropractic technique that focuses on the ligaments, muscles and pelvic alignment of the pregnant mom. Sacral misalignments cause tightening and torsion of pelvic muscles and ligaments. These tense muscles and ligaments create a constraining effect on the uterus which prevents the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth. Webster Technique is defined as a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces interference to the nervous system and facilitates biomechanical balance in pelvic structures, muscles and ligaments. This has been shown to reduce the effects of intrauterine constraint, allowing the baby to get into the best possible position for birth.
Here’s how it works. The uterus is attached in back to the sacrum by the Broad ligament, and it is attached in front by two Round ligaments which then attach into the pubic bone. I picture the uterus as a balloon suspended between these three ligaments. If the sacrum is misaligned (subluxated) from whatever stresses that mom has had to her body over her lifetime, one side of the sacrum will rotate backward. This puts increased tension on the broad ligament that is attached to it, which in turn tugs on the uterus causing Uterine Torsion. Frequently, because of that tugging, tension will be put on the round ligament in front, usually on the opposite side. Because the round ligament is actually a musculo-ligamentous structure, it can tighten and sometimes spasm from that strain. This is the source of round ligament pain that women are told is normal.
Uterine torsion is what you don’t want: picture holding a balloon (your uterus) at both ends and tugging. While the length increases, the middle space is less.
Uterine torsion decreases the amount of room for the baby . This can interfere with the baby’s growth and can lead to malposition “breech, transverse, posterior or otherwise as the baby twists into one position but can’t get back. Even without a malposition, uterine torsion is a major source of dystocia, (difficult labor). And dystocia leads to labor interventions which may be avoided.
The Webster technique involves two low-force procedures. The first is a check for sacral misalignment (subluxation). If that is found the sacrum is gently set back into position, usually while the mom is laying face down on specially designed pregnancy pillows or while lying on her side. It is important that no rotation of the pelvis is induced as this tends to increase the uterine torsion. Once the sacrum is aligned, the round ligaments are palpated for tightness, and if tightness is found a gentle traction is applied until the ligament relaxes.
The Webster Technique was once known as a “baby-turning” technique because there is a reported 85% success with breech presentations turning to normal head down after the pelvic structures were aligned. It is important to note that the chiropractor’s only focus is the balancing of the pelvis without any direct involvement with the baby. Dealing directly with the baby is not a chiropractic area and is left to the parents and the birth care provider they choose.
Prenatal chiropractic techniques vary from doctor to doctor. Finding the right, or best, doctor can be daunting for patients. It is my opinion that pregnant women looking for prenatal chiropractic care only see someone certified in the Webster Technique by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. A list of certified doctors can be found at that foundation’s website at ICPA4KIDS.com. These doctors not only have been trained and certified in the Webster technique, but they are involved with and support the continuing research and development of techniques and processes which can improve the health of the entire family, beginning with prenatal chiropractic care.
To sum up, the benefits to a pregnant mom of Prenatal Chiropractic care are:
- Improving the health of mom so that she and baby can enjoy the pregnancy as best as possible.
- Balancing the structures of mom’s pelvis, not only so that malposition of baby is avoided, but so labor and delivery go as smoothly as possible. Avoiding malposition means avoiding the significant stress that condition puts on mom and baby, as well as the additional testing done when a malposition is discovered.
Subluxations are like cavities in that they are quite common and you generally don’t know if you have one until either they become very serious or you have a check-up by someone qualified to find them. They are worse than cavities in that they can have a significant adverse impact on a person’s health, and in particular on mom’s health, pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Being tested for subluxation of the spine and pelvis by a Certified Webster Chiropractor might be one of the most important tests a pregnant woman can get.
Is prenatal chiropractic care safe during pregnancy?
There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. All pregnancy chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant. Investing in the fertility and pregnancy wellness of women who are pregnant or trying to conceive is a routine treatment for most chiropractors.
Do all chiropractors adjust pregnant moms?
Some pregnancy chiropractors take a specific interest in prenatal and peri-natal care and seek additional training. Below represents designations of chiropractors who have taken advanced steps in working with infertility and pregnancy wellness.
- DACCP – Diplomate with ICPA reflecting highest level of advanced training
- CACCP – Certified with the ICPA reflecting advanced training
- Member of ICPA reflecting special interest
- Webster Certified – trained to specifically work with breech positions
Chiropractors that have been trained to work with pregnant women may use pillows or tables that adjust for a pregnant woman’s body, and they will use techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen.
A pregnancy chiropractor who is versed in the needs of women who are pregnant will also provide you with exercises and stretches that are safe to use during pregnancy and compliment any adjustments made to your spine. Dr. Vincent is currently working towards his diplomate through the ICPA.
Why should I have prenatal chiropractic care during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there are several physiological changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby. The following changes could result in a misaligned spine or joint:
- Postural adaptations
- Protruding abdomen and increased back curve
- Pelvic changes
Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery.
Chirnervous system is the master communication system to all the body systems including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively.
What are the benefits of prenatal chiropractic care during pregnancy?
Chiropractic care during pregnancy may provide benefits for women who are pregnant. Potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:
- Prevent a potential cesarean section
- Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
- Reducing the time of labor and delivery
- Relieving back, neck or joint pain