Information & Tips for Pregnant Women and Mothers
I have helped many women throughout their pregnancies and found that the most common reason for these women seeking chiropractic care is for pain relief from low back ache, general back ache, pelvic pain, pubic symphysis dysfunction and general musculo-skeletal aches and pains.
During the course of pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes innumerable structural changes, which can create postural strain, neck and back pain. Pelvic stability and natural spinal alignment during this time is critical for pregnant women and chiropractic care during pregnancy may help to:
- Correct vertebral misalignment and relieve joint pressure with gentle manipulation.
- Align the pelvic bones, which may allow for a more comfortable pregnancy.
- Re-establish the natural position and mobility of the joints.
- Educate expectant mothers on postural, exercise and nutritional advice.
- Provide support and healthcare advice for the duration of pregnancy and beyond.
Clinical experience has taught me that it is also very important for expectant mothers to be aware of the amount of ‘stress’ in their lives, stress can take the form of physical stress, chemical stress and emotional stress.
- Physical stresses are muscle or joint injuries, aches and pains and postural issues.
- Chemical stresses take the form of foods and chemicals taken into the body via the mouth, the skin and environmentally. These include any food sensitivities and intolerances.
- Emotional stresses include unhappy, negative thoughts and beliefs.
I believe it is vital to reduce these stresses not only for the mother, but also for her baby in as many positive ways as possible.
Advice on posture and joint alignment is very important, as women commonly experience muscle and joint pain throughout pregnancy. Weakness of the pelvic floor muscles from both previous pregnancies, from normal and caesarean deliveries may also lead to back pain post delivery.
- Attending Pilates or specific exercise rehabilitation classes prior to, during and after birth will help strengthen the muscles to support your joints, pelvic floor and help with your posture. It is important that pregnant women choose strengthening activities rather than stretching activities, as the ligaments are already stretching to cope with pregnancy and do not need any extra stress, as this can in some cases cause injury.
- Breastfeeding postures especially when tired or at night are often not ideal, and can cause tightness and pain in the upper body. A breast-feeding pillow can help support your lower back and make sure you sit upright. This will help relieve the strain on shoulders, the spine, neck and tummy, which is particularly important following a caesarean section delivery.
- Unaccustomed lifting of your newborn and bending over cots, changing nappies and carrying car seats may also cause extra strain on the body. Carrying a baby on your body in a papoose or wearing a hipseat belt (for toddlers) is a better alternative to holding your child, or carrying her on your hip, or in a car seat.
- Supportive footwear is critical throughout your pregnancy. The soles of your feet need support! Pregnancy hormones also relax the ligaments of your feet and as your body weight increases your feet take on more stresses and will spread as a result. Plantar fasciitis and flattening of the arch of your feet can occur leading to discomfort and misalignment of the legs, hips and ultimately your pelvis. You should opt for shoes which have a built in arch support. There is now a wide range of the more ‘fashionable’ supportive and comfortable footwear available.
- Get a adjusted! Visit a chiropractor who treats pregnant women. Chiropractic care during pregnancy focuses on releasing the mother’s ligaments, fascia, muscle and joints surrounding your beautiful bump and pelvis, spine, hips, legs, feet – everywhere! Chiropractors re-align the pelvis and joints of the spine to enable you and your baby to achieve the most natural position possible. Chiropractic techniques are absolutely safe, gentle and natural for mother and baby.
Emotional Stresses – fear, worry and anxiety
- Meditation and relaxation practices such as yoga are perfect for relaxation and breathing; however, strenuous yoga is not advised due to the level of stretching involved and joint strain that can occur. A relaxed mind is a relaxed body – the perfect environment to grow a baby!
- Continuous negative thoughts or negative self talk creates stress for the mind, leads to chemical changes which ultimately manifest in your body – your body and mind work in unison and therefore increased stress on either causes increased overall ‘Stress’.
- Fearful thoughts stimulate adrenaline (a fight or flight hormone), which affects your physical body to ‘run’ from the fear. During pregnancy anxious feelings that accompany a life changing experience and accepting the physical changes that occur can create stress. Meditation can help you achieve a more balanced emotional state and a happier, healthier mindset during your pregnancy making the transition to motherhood a positive and delightful experience.
Antenatal Classes in Parsons Green and South Kensington
We recently met ”the bump class” & believe they are offering a fabulous practical & educational course. They are passionate about the importance of giving parents the best possible start to parenthood. Described by The Times as a ‘unique concept’ their extremely popular antenatal course is tailored to meet the needs of mothers who want to learn about the practical elements of child birth, breastfeeding and parenting from a supportive, pragmatic & unbiased stance.