As many women know, the shifts and changes that can occur during pregnancy don’t necessarily go away after delivery. The road back from nine months of body changes can be long and difficult. More and more women are discovering that post-pregnancy chiropractic care can help them to feel better and heal faster. In addition, chiropractic care during pregnancy helps many women to manage pain and learn how to adjust their movements to accommodate for a changing body.
Common Pain Issues Following Pregnancy
The great physical and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can be dramatically different for some women. A good number of women simply breeze through nine months of pregnancy with almost no pain or discomfort. Others experience pain, inflammation, swelling and soreness that make it feel like they have to “relearn” how to use the bodies when doing even simple tasks like walking or getting out of bed. Unfortunately, it’s possible to create a very serious injury due to the changing of the ligaments that takes places as the body stretches and “softens” to accommodate a growing baby. It’s not your imagination if you feel that the way your body responds to movement during pregnancy feels “different.” During pregnancy, the ovaries and placenta release a hormone called relaxin that helps to soften and widen the cervix in anticipation of delivery. Unfortunately, the hormone can’t differentiate between the ligaments that are involved in delivery and the ones that aren’t. As a result, all of your ligaments generally become softer during pregnancy. This can actually lead to injuries whenever you perform physical activities or apply pressure to ligaments.
Many women are surprised when they experience “sudden” injuries or pain after participating in activities that they are very familiar with while pregnant. The reality is that even someone who is an avid runner who knows proper form and technique could be injured due to the fact that applying a “normal” amount of pressure while running could simply be too forceful once relaxin causes joints to soften. It can take a while after delivery for everything to “return to normal.” In addition, untreated injuries that occurred during pregnancy may linger long after delivery to make it difficult to resume life with a newborn. This is why it’s so important to address pain in any area of the body following pregnancy.
Common Changes That Women Experience During Pregnancy
Most women understand that they should expect some pretty extreme body changes during pregnancy. However, few are prepared for the lingering pain and discomfort that can follow them into the postnatal period. This can be a difficult time for self-care due to the demands of taking care of an infant. In addition, it can be hard to fully understand or determine the root of pain and discomfort in the body when there is still so much adjustment and change occurring. Women often experience months of hormonal adjustments and bodily changes as they move away from the pregnancy experience into the postnatal experience. Here’s a look at some of the common things women experience in the months following pregnancy:
- Loosened ligaments.
- Pinched nerves.
- Persistent back pain.
- Bones that have spread.
- Shifts in weight distribution throughout the body.
- Shifts in posture.
- Differences in balance.
- Hormonal peaks and low.
It’s true that some of the “negative” changes some women experience after pregnancy will resolve on their own. However, many women find that they can resolve postpartum pain and discomfort more thoroughly and quickly through chiropractic care. Next, we’ll highlight some of the specific ways that seeing a chiropractor after having a baby may improve health and wellness.
A Potential for Faster Postpartum Recovery
Both women who have vaginal births and cesarean sections will require a recovery period where the body is able to “return” back to its pre-pregnancy state. For some women, this can take months or years. Unfortunately, many women simply believe that the pain they feel following birth is now a part of the way their post-delivery bodies operate. This should not be the case. Pain is always a sign that something is “off.” Chiropractors can help to address post-pregnancy pain through very specific and targeted pelvic and spinal exercises that help to return your pelvic and spinal movements back to normal. Many women also don’t realize that they actually altered their postures during pregnancy to account for the weight of a growing baby. A chiropractor can help to identify incorrect, compensating posture and provide exercises to help you get back to an appropriate posture.
The Benefit of Learning How to “Operate” Your Body With a Newborn
It’s very common for new mothers to experience back and neck pain caused by the ways they need to strain when caring for newborns. Improper posture while breastfeeding can create very severe pain in the neck, back and shoulders. In addition, constantly lifting a baby out of cribs and car seats throughout the day while also balancing items like heavy diaper bags can lead to serious misalignment issues. Here’s a look at some other common movements and activities that can create serious pain in new mothers:
- Leaning over cribs.
- “Hunching” to strap a child into a car seat.
- “Hunching” or stooping when feeding a baby.
- Swaying with the pelvis in a “forward” position while holding a baby.
- Spending a good amount of time sitting or leaning forward while tending to baby.
- Carrying a child in the “wrong” position.
- Rocking a baby to sleep in a way that places pressure in the wrong places.
In addition to the neck and back, the hipbones are at great risk for injury in new mothers. A condition called pelvic girdle is commonly developed in the first few months of caring for a newborn. New mothers often dismiss pain that crops up because they assume that it is normal to feel uncomfortable in the early stages of motherhood. Others simply don’t take the time to look after their own health. Unfortunately, neglecting telltale signs of injury or misalignment can create chronic pain issues that will require far more serious interventions down the road.
A Word on Pregnancy-Related Sciatica and Spinal Pressure
Chiropractors can be especially helpful with treating something called pregnancy-related sciatica. This can present as a very mysterious and serious issue for new mothers. However, it doesn’t need to be with the proper chiropractic intervention. Women with pregnancy-related sciatica will often experience pain in the lower spine. However, some don’t experience “pain” in a way that they are familiar with. This condition typically shows up with a very strange tingling or numbing sensation that extends from the lower back all the way down to the buttocks and back of legs. It can feel like a combination of pain and numbness happening at once. Sciatica can make sitting for long periods very painful. Generally, sciatica develops in pregnant women as the uterus expands to accommodate the weight of a baby. However, the expansion and pliability sometimes continue even after pregnancy. During chiropractors care, a chiropractor performs manipulations that actually trigger the body to initiate healing of the uterus naturally without any type of medication or serious corrective procedure.
The Role of Chiropractic Care After Pregnancy
Chiropractic care is a gentle solution for a gentle time in life. Chiropractors are able to stimulate the body to return to its pre-pregnancy state much faster than time will do the job alone in most cases. In addition, it’s so important to address any misalignment issues stemming from both pregnancy and caring for a newborn that can lead to very serious and chronic conditions for a new mother if not treated. Chiropractics who offer postnatal care are also able to show mothers exercises and techniques for using proper, protective postures and movements when caring for their babies to prevent injury!