You are looking after your pregnant body and your baby well by attending pregnancy yoga classes, eating healthily and having a pregnancy massage once in a while to relax. But there is something more you could do to ready your body and baby for the big day, and that is to align your spine and pelvis.
Pregnancy Care Chiropractic practice has been well established in the US for many years with women routinely consulting specialist Chiropractors regularly throughout their pregnancy. Whilst pregnancy yoga and various pregnancy related health regimes have become very popular in the UK, we hardly ever hear about pregnancy specific manual therapies, other than massages.
I have spent years treating pregnant women in my clinic (maybe some just want three quarters of an hour lying belly down on my pregnancy pillow – bliss!). They can be suffering from back pain, pelvic discomfort, neck strain, you name it, but what I always tell them is that you really do not need to wait until you start to feel discomfort before coming to see us.
All the ligaments supporting the uterus, are connected to the spine and various parts of the pelvic bone. Imagine a water filled balloon being suspended wrapped crisscrossed in a cloth. If you twist and pull the cloth in different directions, it will squeeze the balloon and change its shape. Similarly, if your bony structures are not aligned, it will create a torque on your uterus and that could limit space for your baby to move freely and grow. And babies grow at an incredible speed.
As well as the ligaments, there are the all important pelvic floor muscles and the diaphragm, which are all connected to the bone structures. It is vital for a comfortable pregnancy to have these supporting structures aligned, well balanced and working optimally.
By allowing that, you are giving the baby the ability to get into the best possible position for birth (yes there is an ideal position called Left Occiput Anterior but that’s for later), leading to an easier and safer natural delivery. Your spine or pelvis might be out of alignment because of the accumulation of habits in your standing, sitting or even sleeping posture, crossing legs etc. Or you might be affected by past injuries or illnesses.
The job of the Pregnancy Care Chiropractor is to assess and adjust the whole body in order to release tensions built up in the ligaments, muscles and the nervous system.
I use the gentle and holistic McTimoney method which adjusts every bone in the body individually even the individual vertebrae. We also advise on what pregnant postures and exercises are best for individual body shapes and types, sometimes in collaboration with your Yoga or Pilates teachers. I hope that Pre-pregnancy and Pregnancy Care by therapists such as Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists will become much more commonplace in the UK. I think it will lead to more happy and healthy mothers and babies, by preventing complications in the labour wards as well as saving costs for the NHS.
Akiko Wanaka practices Chiropractic at Light Centre Monument. See her profile.