As many new mothers can attest, the muscle strains of pregnancy are very real and can be more than just a nuisance. A combination of factors may result in severe discomfort, particularly in the lower back. These include an average weight gain of 10 to 15kgs, increased stress placed on the body by the baby, and the release of hormones that soften the ligaments. More than 50% of women experience back pain during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester.
Managing back pain whilst pregnant must include a good exercise programme and the use of body mechanics to avoid back pain and promote proper posture. There are many treatments to relieve back pain whilst pregnant apart from proper posture and exercise programs body mechanics can be used to take the stress off muscles whilst doing everyday activity such as housework or leisure activities.
The most important thing to remember is that back pain is not normal when pregnant but should not be accepted as part of the process. There is no need to put up with a sore back when pregnant.
Many pregnant women have found that Chiropractic adjustments provide relief from the increased low-back pain brought on by pregnancy. Not only do they reduce discomfort during pregnancy, they also can reduce the chance of long-term damage to lower back following birth. There is also evidence to suggest that having a well-aligned and cared-for back can reduce pain during birth.
Chiropractic adjustments are considered safe* for pregnant women and are especially attractive to those who are trying to avoid medications in treating their back pain (which has been reasserted in a publication by Owald et.al1). Chiropractors can also offer nutrition, ergonomic, and exercise advice to help a woman enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
Spinal adjustments are especially gentle during pregnancy, as far less force is required. This is due to the increase in hormones causing significant muscle and ligament relaxation. Special “adjustive” positions are also used to provide comfort and safety for both mum and baby.
Chiropractic care can also help after childbirth. In the eight weeks following labour and delivery, the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy begin to tighten up again. Ideally, joint problems brought on during pregnancy should be treated before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state to prevent muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort, and shoulder problems.
In summary, chiropractic care can:
- Help you remain active during pregnancy
- Help make delivery more comfortable
*Chiropractic treatment is generally considered safe but occasionally it may cause adverse reactions in some people. For more information regarding risk of treatment specific to your personal situation, please consult your chiropractor.
1. Can Fam Physician. 2013 Aug;59(8):841-2.Optimizing pain relief during pregnancy using manual therapy. Oswald C, Higgins CC, Assimakopoulos D.