As many new mothers can attest, the aches and strains of pregnancy are very real and can be very debilitating. On average a woman will gain 25 to 35 pounds, and this combined with the increased stress placed on the body by the baby, can result in severe discomfort. Studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers will develop low back pain at some point during their pregnancies. This can be especially true during late pregnancy, when the baby presses down on a woman’s back, legs, and buttocks, and potentially irritates her sciatic nerve. And for those who already suffer from low back pain, the problem can become even more severe.
During pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity begins to shift forward to the front of her pelvis. Although a woman’s sacrum (the posterior portion of the pelvis) is designed to enable her to carry a baby, the displaced weight still increases the stress on her joints. As the baby continues to grow, a woman’s weight shifts even further forward. This increases the curvature of her lower back and places extra stress on the discs of the spine. As a compensation measure, the normal curvature of the upper spine increases as well.
While these changes sound dramatic, the hormones released during pregnancy help loosen the ligaments in a woman’s body. But even these natural changes designed to accommodate the growing baby can result in postural imbalances, making pregnant women prone to tripping and falling.
Many pregnant women have found that chiropractic adjustments provide back pain relief from the increased lower back pain brought on by pregnancy. Chiropractic manipulation is safe for the pregnant woman and her baby and can be especially attractive to those who are trying to avoid medications in treating their back pain. Additionally, Dr H’Doubler offers nutrition, ergonomic, and exercise advice to help a woman enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
Chiropractic care can also help after childbirth. In the eight weeks following labor and delivery, the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy begin to tighten up again. Ideally, joint problems brought on during pregnancy from improper lifting or reaching should be treated before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state to prevent muscle tension, headaches, and joint problems throughout the body.