Although I have been adjusted since I was about a year old, it wasn’t until I started chiropractic school that I realized the impact that chiropractic care can have on a healthy pregnancy and birth. I grew up with the belief that gentle chiropractic adjustments helped to support my immune system and I received regular adjustments as a part of my personal wellness plan. As I went through chiropractic school, I began to learn how much chiropractic adjustments impact the nervous system and the drastic changes a woman’s body goes through during a pregnancy. It was the first time in my life that I thought about the impact I could have as a chiropractor by helping women to feel more comfortable and to support her body to allow for correct positioning of the baby during pregnancy and labor.
While in school I took care of a number of pregnant women and I was so happy to see them have wonderful pregnancies and labors after months of regular adjustments. Gentle adjustments during pregnancy helps address imbalances in the mother’s pelvis as baby grows and also reduces adverse tension in a woman’s nervous system.
Research has shown* that chiropractic adjustments can have an impact on strength and tension of the pelvic floor muscles. It has also found that pregnant women who received chiropractic care had a greater ability to relax their pelvic floor during rest, which is particularly important during labor. This increase in the relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles may mean that chiropractic care could be of benefit to pregnant women, as it may help them have a natural delivery. Neuroscientist and Chiropractic Researcher Heidi Haavik is quoted saying, “If we can have an uncomplicated, natural vaginal delivery without drugs and intervention, the baby is better off, and the woman is better off. This study we have just done suggests chiropractic care can help women by relaxing their pelvic floor muscles.”
When I became pregnant with my first baby, chiropractic care changed for me because I knew I was no longer getting adjusted only for myself, but also for the health of the child I was carrying. I was planning for a home-birth so I knew I needed all the help I could get to support relaxation, proper fetal position, and to help decrease pain and labor time. I also have a history of lower back injuries, so I was concerned that pain would be an issue with the increased ligament laxity, hyperextension of the low back, and naturally occurring weight gain that comes along with pregnancy. I was adjusted on mostly a weekly basis throughout both of my pregnancies and I am happy to say that I have had TWO, wonderful home-births. I know regular chiropractic care helped me to feel the most comfortable I could AND supported the plan of having my babies at home. Even if home-birth isn’t part of your birth plan, chiropractic care during pregnancy is one of the most beneficial modalities to support a comfortable pregnancy, improved fetal positioning, and decreased pain and labor times.