Comfort Measures in Labor: Chiropractic Care
Many women swear by chiropractic care for everyday health and wellness and even more so as to the benefits they have experienced in pregnancy and childbirth.
Chiropractic care is a specialized area of healthcare focusing on the joints and their interaction with the nervous system. A chiropractor is trained in manipulating joints using pressure, massage, stretching, and exercise to properly align the musculoskeletal system. The theory is that due to our lifestyle, injury, and stress/muscle tension, our joints, particularly those of the spine, can become misaligned causing nerves to be pinched. This pinching of the nerves can lead to pain, discomfort, or changes in your other organs such as constipation, dizziness, painful menstrual cycles, etc…
In pregnancy, your body goes through many changes. You gain weight. Your weight distribution changes. Your body starts to produce a hormone called relaxin that causes the ligaments in your pelvis to soften so that your pelvic bones can open wider for your growing baby. This relaxin, however, doesn’t just effect the ligaments in your pelvis but all over your body. This is why pregnant women often complain of being more clumsy. The problem with this is that the softened ligaments also can lead to other joints becoming misaligned.
As you progress in your pregnancy, the weight of your baby starts to pull your belly forward and increase your the lordotic curve of your lumbar spine (lower back). This, along with our more sedentary lifestyle, can lead to a poor position of the baby. This can lead to a longer, more painful labor and sometimes a labor that requires augmenting or interventions.
Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy has been known to increase the comfort of the mother in pregnancy and in labor. Many claim that continued chiropractic care through pregnancy resulted in faster and more comfortable labor. Many women also claim that it helps them nausea in pregnancy, as well.
“In one study, women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labour times and subjects giving birth for the second or third time reported 39% reduction in shorter labour times. In another study, the need for analgesics was reduced by 50% in the patients who received adjustments. In addition, 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with chiropractic care.” (ICPA)
More and more insurance carriers are starting to cover chiropractic care so you may want to check to see what your insurance covers. They may also have suggestions for chiropractors near you. Make sure that your chiropractor is educated and/or experienced in the treatment of pregnant women.
Chiropractic care can be very beneficial in pregnancy but also in labor. Not everyone feels comfortable with the idea of chiropractic care, however. If you experience anxiety or fear at the idea of chiropractic adjustments I would advise talking to a chiropractor about that. He/She may be able to explain their process in a way that will alleviate your anxiety. If you are still anxious about it, then I would advise not having an adjustment. There is no need in making yourself more anxious and fearful than you need to be. However, if you are open to the idea of chiropractic care, I highly recommend finding someone near you that you feel comfortable with. A few chiropractors even agree to go on call for your labor and adjust you while you are in labor if needed. Not many do this so don’t expect it but some chiropractors will offer this added perk.
If you are in the Denton, TX area and are interested in hiring a doula for your birth experience, contact me today to schedule a free consultation. If you are interested in learning about more comfort measures in labor, check out my Comfort Measures page.
- Pathways to Family Wellness: The Growing Role of Chiropractic Care in Childbirth Education
- ICPA: An Expectant Parent’s Guide to Chiropractic