Pregnancy admittedly has its ups and downs; nonetheless, the result is undeniably worth it in the end. As a chiropractor I often treat pregnant patients for a multitude of aches and pains. Most commonly throughout pregnancies I see an increase in low back pain, pubic pressure and rib pain. The misnomer is often “oh pain is normal when you’re pregnant”, but just because you are pregnant does not mean you HAVE to be in pain.
The background info:
During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called relaxin. This allows the body to relax and “stretch” both for the developing child and for delivery. However, increased laxity of ligaments means the body loses stability, therefore making it imperative to have good muscular control. Often times pain can be a result of poor positioning of the hips creating extra stressors placed upon surrounding musculature.
Although subsequent pregnancies may be harder, or at least feel harder on the body, keep in mind the body must change and adjust from a new starting point each time. If you have other children at home, be mindful of how often you are picking them up and be sure to switch positions and hips regularly.
Tips for surviving pregnancy:
Exercise- is safe and recommended for moms unless otherwise discouraged by their OB. I encourage patients to remain active, as it will make you feel energized and allow more motion in the joints. Start with stretching gently and warming up with a long walk. Depending on your level of fitness, exercises can be tailored to your special needs by fitness professionals.
Posture- it is important to maintain a good upright posture throughout pregnancy. Be mindful of the neutral spine and bending from your knees to lift something off the ground (ie other children). Often times I have my patients practice squatting. You would be surprised how this one exercise can translate into a multitude of functional movements you do on a daily basis.
Eating Healthy- try to not get in the mindset that you are eating for two so eating twice the amount of ice cream is allowed. You need to consume twice the amount of nutrients. Food should be healthy as the saying goes, “ you are what you eat”
Ice- Back pain is on some level an injury. If you are feeling sore and achy, Ice not heat!
Chiropractic is used to help pregnant patients by aligning the hips and spine, balancing the pelvis, and eliminating undue tension on the muscles and ligaments thus creating an optimal fetal position. This is a safe and valued profession that utilizes multiple skilled techniques to help avoid added pressure and discomfort on the abdomen.
“As your baby descends into your pelvic cavity, you may feel sharp, stabbing pains at the base of your spine or in the middle of your pelvic bone, making it uncomfortable twinges of “pains and needles” in the cervix itself. Pain may radiate down your back or thighs. The increased pelvic aches and pains are likely due to the relaxation and stretching of your pelvic ligaments in preparation for labor. You can ease these discomforts by changing positions. Exercise gently every day; take long, slow walks or ride a stationary bicycle. If you cannot exercise without pain, consult your doctor. He or she may be able to recommend a chiropractor experienced in working on pregnant bodies, who may be able to give you some gentle pelvic adjustments to get your hips back in the balance. It is our personal theory that chiropractic care in pregnancy can help to avoid or relieve back pain and also prepare your back and pelvic structures for the stresses of labor and birth.”
The 9th Month. William Sears, MD, Martha Sears, RN. Parenting, June/July 1997
Dr. Shoshana Sevel is a chiropractor and board certified in physiotherapy in Fairfax VA at Sport and Spine Rehab.
Dr. Sevel graduated with her Masters in Sports Health Science and Doctorate of Chiropractic in Marietta, Ga at Life University. She is a certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner, and a Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner. For more information please email Dr. Sevel at email@example.com or check out the website, www.ssrehab.com