Unfortunately, for many women, pain in pregnancy is common. However, contrary to what a lot of us are told, pain for pregnant women is not normal and there are many techniques, treatments and exercises available to prevent aches and pains.
Why is Pain Common?
The female body is amazing at adapting to the growing baby. During pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin allows the ligaments in the body and around the pelvis to relax and soften. This allows the pelvis to expand while in labour and accommodate the growing baby. This is a very important process the body goes through and can facilitate more movement through the joints. This increase in movement with the added stress and pressure from a growing baby can lead to inflammation and the sensations of pain.
The most common places pregnant women experience discomfort is at the pubic symphysis (SPD) and the sacroiliac joints in the pelvis. The result spinal, low back pain and pelvic pain.
How to Prevent Pain in Pregnancy
The first trimester is not a common time to experience discomfort but is a great time to get into a good pre-baby care routine. This is the perfect time to prepare by choosing stability and endurance exercises to get the deep core, pelvic floor and pelvic stability muscles working. This helps minimise the stress placed through the spine and pelvis in pregnancy. It will also help make labour easier and help the pregnant mother's body spring back into good shape postpartum.
The recommended exercises will be slightly different to a “normal” routine so it is important to find a professional who can guide you through the different exercises at each stage of your pregnancy. A specialised personal trainer or a pregnancy chiropractor with pre and postnatal management training is essential.
Chiropractic care can start through any trimester and we recommend starting by the end of your first trimester as a preventative approach. It's also a good part of your pre-baby body care routine. It is far better to get into a good routine rather than to wait. But for some, this isn’t an option so chiropractic care can be started as a pain management approach whenever possible.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care During pregnancy
There are many benefits. Chiropractic treatment can make pregnancy more enjoyable, labour easier, and recovery quicker.
Your chiropractor will ensure that your body is well aligned, your muscles are working well, and your posture is balanced. This helps to restore and maintain the proper function of the body.
The added bonus of a well-aligned posture is that the “internal” will also be well aligned. This is not a common topic of discussion but any external misalignment can result in an internal misalignment. Torsion through the pelvis can translate to the womb and cause a torsion through the womb. This can alter the available space and the positions the foetus can adopt. The result can often be a more painful, prolonged labour and uneven pressure distribution through the pelvis, spine and hips.
Treatment is safe and can be done through each trimester of pregnancy. Specialised pregnancy techniques will vary for each stage and can be catered to your needs.
The chiropractic adjustments where you hear the ‘cracking’ are only performed after the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. It is perfectly safe with no known contraindications. We don't recommend doing this on your own. It is a technique that should only be performed by a trained professional.
A good health care and exercise routine will help through labour and will aid postnatal recovery.
What if the Baby is Breech?
If the baby is in a breech position, chiropractic care and other positional techniques have been shown to help the baby turn on its own shortly after treatment. Chiropractors don’t perform external cephalic version (ECV). This is only performed by specialized doctors but there are other techniques that chiropractors can use that have been shown to be safe and effective.
Birth is a traumatic process on the body, whether it was a natural birth, c-section or induced labour. The birth process will have major effects on the muscles, skeletal system and the soft tissues in the body. Care after birth can help aid a speedy recovery and get you back to moving well.
Chiropractic care is also safe for the treatment of babies and it is always recommended to get a newborn checked. Ask your paediatric trained pregnancy chiropractor for more details on the benefits.