This week I am excited to share a guest blog post with you. Dr. Kim Nguyen is owner and pregnancy and pediatric chiropractor at Aligned Family Chiropractic in Tomball, TX. Below she shares her top 3 reasons to see a chiropractor during pregnancy.
A lot of people think that you only see a Chiropractor because of neck or back pain, but that’s a big misconception! As a Chiropractor, we work with your nervous system, your brain body connection. Chiropractors check for any subluxations (misalignments that cause interference to your nervous system) that prevent you from functioning at 100%. Health is not about being pain free, but rather how well you are functioning. You live your life through the nervous system, wouldn’t you want it functioning at 100%, especially during pregnancy? During pregnancy not only is your body undergoing many changes, it is doing the important work of supporting your growing baby! The healthier your nervous system, the better your body will be able to adapt to the changes of pregnancy. Here are the top 3 reasons you should see a Webster Certified Chiropractor during pregnancy.
Reason #1-Webster Technique
The term Webster technique is mentioned a lot during pregnancy especially when baby is mal-positioned in utero. As Chiropractors we do not “turn” babies with the Webster technique. The Webster technique can actually be performed on anyone with a pelvic imbalance! Dr. Jeanne Ohm states that “The Webster technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation/ SI joint dysfunction”. Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the Webster Technique, noted that “the restoration of pelvic neuro-biomechanics with this adjustment also frequently facilitated optimal fetal positioning” in pregnant women. So in correcting sacral and SI joint dysfunction with an adjustment, it creates the optimal space for baby to position itself in the best possible position for birth. Also, the more room baby has to move in utero, baby is getting great brain development! Having optimal pelvic and sacral alignment also helps with a smoother labor and birth for mom and baby. Research shows that moms under chiropractic care have shorter labor times! Getting checked frequently throughout pregnancy ensures proper nervous system function, which has many overall health benefits for mom and baby!
Reason #2-Uterus is a muscle!
Your uterus is a muscle that expands exponentially during pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association the uterus goes from about the size of an orange to the size of a watermelon by the third trimester! Going back to your body is controlled by your nervous system; your uterus is supplied by the nerves in the lumbar (low back) and sacrum. It’s vital that the nerve supply to the uterus is flowing without any interference so it can contract and relax when it’s time! Contractions are called contractions for a reason. The uterus is contracting as it should to push baby out along with other factors. If there is interference to the nerves that supply the uterus, the uterus will not be functioning at 100% as it should. Who wants to be in labor and have their uterus tire out before baby gets here and other interventions are being introduced? Not this gal, and I can’t imagine any other woman wanting that either. Failure to progress is one of the leading causes of a Caesarian section. The uterus is attached to the pelvis by ligaments so when the pelvis is misaligned, it can cause tension and torsion to the uterus as well. Getting checked is a preventative measure that can benefit all pregnant women
Reason #3-Get more SLEEP!
Number one reason pregnant women can’t sleep during pregnancy is that they can’t get comfortable or something hurts. Millions of regular pillows and the newest S shaped pregnancy pillow fad later and we still can’t sleep. It’s bad enough that baby is already on our bladder and we’re getting up 5 times a night to pee, now we can’t even get comfortable. I couldn’t imagine not getting adjusted throughout my pregnancy just because it helped with being able to sleep more comfortably so much. It’s true as our bodies change and our abdomen grows during pregnancy its harder to get into comfortable sleeping positions. With chiropractic care, we can reduce any undue stress on the nervous system that may be interfering with sleep. Correcting structural imbalances will help to reduce the typical pregnancy aches and pains. Getting adjusted also helps to calm the nervous system to get you quality sleep and give you the proper energy during the day. With everyone moving so fast paced these days our nervous system has become wired to be more on the go. Basically stuck on the gas pedal what we call sympathetic over drive. When we get adjusted it tells the sympathetic part of our nervous system to calm down by activating our “brake pedal” or parasympathetic system. Restoring this proper balance helps our body to adapt to stress a lot better (such as the changes that come with pregnancy) and we can get quality sleep even with a belly the size of a watermelon on us!
Hopefully you learned something new about the benefits of Chiropractic care for pregnancy. If you’re interested in getting checked or finding a Chiropractor near you reach out to us via our website www.alignedfamilychiro.com we would love to help! Thanks for reading and stopping by!
Dr. Kim Nguyen, Webster Certified Chiropractor
Aligned Family Chiropractic is dedicated to providing holistic and the best effective health care for you and your entire family. We strive to educate our patients and our community about the benefits of chiropractic adjustments and making healthy choices. Our office is committed to taking care of the family as a whole, with an emphasis on pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care. We believe each child and parent should be as healthy as they can be from conception to birth. Health begins before you’re born, let us help guide you in this journey.
Last week I promised to share a few gems from my Spinning Babies training with Gail Tully. Did you know that you can start a routine at 20 weeks to balance the pelvis? Possible results of these exercises include less pain in pregnancy, greater relaxation in pregnancy, a better positioned baby, and a faster labor. If those results sound appealing to you, keep reading.
Gail refers to this routine as the "Three Sisters of Balance". You can find visual explanations, contraindications, and more information on her website at SpinningBabies.com. Please make sure to visit the Spinning Babies website prior to attempting any of these exercises.
Rebozo Sifting - The rebozo is a great multi-purpose tool for pregnancy and labor. In this application of the rebozo, muscles and ligaments in the abdomen are gently jiggled which causes them to relax. Ideally this exercise is done at least once a week, and for 2.5-5 minutes at a time. The rebozo is spread across the belly and mom assumes a hands and knees position. Her helper holds the ends of the rebozo and with wrists facing inward, moves hands in a pedaling motion (not a sawing motion).
Forward Leaning Inversion - This exercise looks a bit complicated, but can be so beneficial. Begin with your knees on a couch or stair. Place your hands on the floor and walk them out as you lower your body. Once you are inverted, place your weight on your forearms rather than your hands. Your bottom should be in the air. Remain inverted for 3 breaths, approximately 30-45 seconds. Do not use pillows as this can increase risk of slipping. Tuck your chin and do not allow your head to rest on the ground. This exercise lengthens and stretches the uterosacral ligament and also takes the uterus off the pelvic bones. Be sure to come straight up out of the inversion rather than walking out of the position. Aim to do this on a daily basis.
Side-lying Release - Tension and twisting in the pelvic floor can cause discomfort in pregnancy, and slow progress in labor. This exercise helps release that tension and restore balance to the pelvic floor. It is essential that mom has a helper for this exercise. Mom lies on her side on the edge of a bed or table with her belly hanging over the edge. Her helper must support her and keep her from rolling off! The helper stabilizes the hip in vertical alignment and applies gentle downward pressure. Mom's bottom leg is straight, shoulders are stacked, and top leg hangs freely in front. This can be done for 5 minutes per side and must be done on both sides.
Need hands on instruction for these and other Spinning Babies techniques? Contact me to schedule an a la carte session focusing on Spinning Babies, or to learn more about my complete doula services.
Isn't head down enough? So often care providers reassure their patients by telling them baby is head down. That is important, but not the end of optimal positioning. In a baby who is presenting head down, position can be occiput anterior (OA), occiput posterior (OP), or occiput transverse (OT). The OP baby is sometimes referred to as "sunny side up" because in this position baby is born face up and is often associated with back labor. The easiest position for baby to be born is OA. If you are now thoroughly confused, you can view these positions here.
Everyone wants an easier labor, so how can you influence baby to an OA position? There are several big keys. First, avoid sitting in a reclined position from 32 weeks until birth. This means no sinking into your comfy, saggy sofa. This means not kicking your feet up in the evening in your favorite recliner. This means your birth ball becomes your favorite tv chair, and you are intentional about keeping your knees lower than your hips. You want to assume forward leaning positions that encourage your baby's back to swing towards your belly with the help of gravity.
Second, see a chiropractor on a regular basis throughout your pregnancy. Seek out a chiropractor who specializes in the treatment of pregnant women as he/she will be familiar with the bony structures and the soft tissues of the pelvis, and know how to work these to create space for baby.
Third, practice Spinning Babies exercises daily starting at 20 weeks. The goal of Spinning Babies techniques is to balance the pelvis and make space for baby to settle into an ideal position for birth. Come back next week as we dive deeper into Spinning Babies and I share a few gems from my (very) full day training with Gail Tully, the creator of Spinning Babies.