Throughout pregnancy an expectant mother experiences many hormonal and structural changes in order to prepare the mother’s body for the developing baby, as well as for the birth process. Some of these changes may include but are not limited to:

  • Weight gain (the breasts and uterus grow)
  • Protruding abdomen (stretching of the abdominal muscles) as the baby continues to grow
  • Pelvic ligaments loosen (due to the increased amounts of hormones necessary for birthing) and become strained
  • Joint instability
  • Changes to the pelvis and sacrum
  • Postural changes including an increased lumbar curve (low back region)

 

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These changes can cause spinal and pelvic misalignments (in chiropractic, referred to as subluxations) leading to nerve interference, which can ultimately result in pain or discomfort for the mother. When the nervous system is being stressed the expectant mother’s body is not able to function at it’s greatest potential.

During pregnancy, a Doctor of Chiropractor will focus on aligning and balancing the musculoskeletal structures of the spine and pelvis. Maintaining an aligned pelvis is essential for creating constraint-free space needed for the developing baby. A misaligned pelvis and sacrum (triangular bone in the pelvis) can lead to restrictions called intrauterine constraints. When the key ligaments (shown in picture below) attached to the uterus are constrained it can create torsion in the uterus. Torsion of the uterus makes it very difficult for the baby to get in the optimal position (rear-facing, head down) for birth. Correcting the imbalanced pelvis through a specific chiropractic adjustment can help reduce the risks of breeched deliveries or other interventions such as forceps and vacuum extraction.

 

Some benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy:

  • Decreased labor/delivery time
  • Neck, back, hip, leg, and joint pain relief
  • Decreased need for pain medications
  • Decreased need for medical interventions
  • Maintenance of a healthy pregnancy
  • Helps reduce the incidence of post-partum depression
  • Reduced risk for breeched presentation
  • Relief from many of the common discomforts such as heartburn, swollen ankles & feet, headaches, and constipation
  • Better sleep and relaxation
  • Greater comfort for mother and baby
  • The potential for an easier delivery

Chiropractic adjustments are safe, gentle, and effective for both mom and baby throughout pregnancy.

Dr. Shannon Whitlock is a family wellness chiropractor in St. Petersburg, FL specializing in pregnancy, newborns, pediatrics, and family care.  Dr. Whitlock is certified in the Webster Technique through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (See below for a description and link about the Webster technique)

The Webster Technique, discovered by Dr. Larry Webster, in 1978, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), is a specific chiropractic adjustment to eliminate sacral misalignment and improve nerve system function. He developed it as a specific sacral adjustment for pregnant women to help balance pelvic muscles and ligaments and potentially improve birth outcome. The first woman who came into his practice and had this technique applied was pregnant with a breech baby. Shortly after beginning care, the baby turned to a head down position. Dr. Webster continued to offer this adjustment for all pregnant mothers in his practice. For those presenting breech, he claimed a 95% rate of these babies assuming a more optimal positioning for birth. This led to great interest by chiropractors, birth providers and mothers seeking options for safer, easier natural births.

The Webster Technique: A Chiropractic Technique. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2002 Jul-Aug;25(6): E1-9

For more information on the Webster Technique or the ICPA, visit www.icpa4kids.org or call Dr. Whitlock at 727-767-0564.