BY DR. BRITTANY FALCONE
Your protruding abdomen is more than a cute baby bump. Women and birth providers are recognizing that regular chiropractic care during and immediately after pregnancy can be beneficial to a woman's changing body. Expectant mothers are vulnerable to pelvic alignment and balance stressors, including: Adapting to changes in your center of gravity Compensating for posture changes Gaining weight Fluctuating hormones resulting in instability Untreated, these can cause profound consequences to your spine. While pain may be common during pregnancy, it does not necessarily mean it's normal. If you are experiencing discomfort, it should be addressed. If you are lucky enough to have an amazing, pain-free pregnancy, chiropractic care could still play a vital part of your prenatal care plan. Like having a cavity without tooth pain, your spine can also develop issues without initial discomfort. Chiropractic care ensures the absence and prevention of underlying problems.
More than affecting how you feel while pregnant, misalignment during pregnancy can interfere with the birth process by negatively altering the structure of the pelvis and uterine nerve function. This may translate into a longer, more difficult labor and delivery for mom and baby. Chiropractors are trained to detect and correct spinal imbalances in pregnant patients by using the Webster Technique. This is a method of examination and treatment in the chiropractic office that focuses on assessing the tailbone as well as ligaments and muscles attached to that bone. The type of treatment you receive while you are expecting will be different than past chiropractic you may have received.
The Webster Technique is a five-part analysis that begins with you laying face down on the chiropractic table to evaluate your tailbone for misalignment. I know what you're thinking - but have no fear - you will be able to lay face down at any phase of your pregnancy! Most chiropractors that work with pregnant women have special tables with abdominal sections that drop down to accommodate your growing baby bump. Not only will the doctor be working with your spine from the back, they will also use gentle hands-on treatment to the abdomen to gently address the muscular and ligament components impacting pelvic balance. By approaching the body in this way, chiropractic works to reduce spinal dysfunction and improve birth outcomes by affecting pelvic structure and function. Research suggests that women who receive chiropractic care will have quicker, easier labors. Now what expectant mom wouldn't want that?
Pregnancy is a wonderful and exciting time for parents, but it also is a time when expectant moms can experience an array of physical, emotional and social stress. A 2018 study from The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine sampled 343 pregnant patients response to chiropractic care utilizing the Webster Technique. The women in this study reported improved energy levels, less pain, better sleep patterns, and even improved social roles and interaction. This research suggests that expectant moms under regular chiropractic care may experience improved quality of life. Chiropractic care can be an important part of you prenatal care, and I encourage all women to add it to their health care regimen during and after pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and thinking about chiropractic, it's important to find a doctor trained in the Webster Technique - the treatment you receive will be more complete and effective.
Dr. Brittany Falcone is a Worcester-based chiropractor who specializes in pediatric and pregnancy related chiropractic care and is Webster Technique certified. She is a mother and active member of her local community. Contact her directly at email@example.com or visit her office website at www.backtohealthchiro.com.