Mother’s day is just around the corner and as I’m writing this, sadly the weather doesn’t look like it’s going to be very nice---- fingers crossed that this changes so that mommas can get outside and enjoy the day. Speaking of moms, I often get asked if chiropractic care can be helpful for expecting moms. The answer is yes! Throughout pregnancy and even up to 5 months following a baby’s birth, mom’s body produces a hormone called relaxin. This hormone helps the body’s muscles and ligaments relax so that they can expand to accommodate the growing baby. This hormone also peaks during delivery to allow for easier delivery. After pregnancy, this hormone helps the body readjust to its pre-pregnancy position while ligaments regain their strength. All of these changes can definitely lead to more strain on the joints of the body leading to discomfort and even chronic pain. This is where chiropractic care can come in-- especially to maintain low back, pelvic, and hip balance or alignment. This can help with mom's discomfort as well as help the baby be in the best position for delivery. Chiropractic training teaches safe stretches, exercises, and adjustments to help reduce stress on mom’s body. A common area that expecting moms experience discomfort is in the hips and SI joints or even sciatic pain. Restoring motion in these areas with stretching and chiropractic adjustments helps mom feel like she can walk easier and with less pain. This makes it a little easier for mom to stay active during her pregnancy.
How can chiropractic help during postnatal care? Chiropractic care can help a new mother heal quicker, feel more comfortable and mobile so she can best care for herself and her baby during this new phase. Often after birth, the mother’s pelvic biomechanics change – these changes can bring discomfort with walking, nursing and sleeping. Chiropractic care can restore the pelvic balance with similar adjustments, exercises and stretches that were used during prenatal care. Chiropractic care has been shown to prevent common postpartum concerns such as carpal tunnel or even numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. Adjustments can also be beneficial to restore motion to the neck and thoracic (mid back) region due to positions during breastfeeding, bottle feeding or rocking babies to sleep. There is a tendency for new moms to flex forward for long periods of time which can aggravate the neck and mid back area. Carrying car seats with infants in them also alters biomechanics. I always like to chat with new moms about finding ways to do these activities that puts the least amount of stress on their neck and back.
Chiropractic care helps not only mommas but their babies too. Delivery and birth is tough on both mom and baby. Oftentimes, there is a lot of stress on the baby’s head, neck, and shoulders during birth which can lead to misalignments in the upper spine. Gentle adjustments have been shown to help with feeding, reflux, and colic. Caring for a new baby is challenging, stressful, and tiring--- but in the end it’s worth it.
Happy Mother’s Day all you moms out there! However you’re spending your day, I hope you make it all about you.