It seems as if there is always controversy about what a woman should and shouldn’t be doing while she is pregnant. Some people expect a woman to keep up on her regular routine, while others treat women as if they are made of glass. If we take a brief look at how the body changes during pregnancy, then knowing what someone is safely capable of doing (and what is safe for the child) becomes much simpler.
One of the most obvious changes that occur during pregnancy is a downward force and a forward pull on the lower spine. This extra weight, combined with changes in gait and centre-of-gravity, often result in lower-back and neck pain. As labor approaches, the body releases many hormones, some of which loosen ligaments as well as increase breast size – all of which is a perfect storm for discomfort in the ribcage, pelvis, and upper back.
Chiropractic care re-aligns the body to cope with stress, which reduces pain/discomfort as well as maintains proper functionality. Recent studies show that the need for analgesics (pain meds) during labor was reduced by 50% in patients who receive chiropractic care during pregnancy. In addition, 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy, and a minimum of 24% reduction in labor time. Chiropractic care has also been shown to reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression.
Finding the balance between caution, comfort, and being pro-active can be challenging. Some simple, general rules to follow during pregnancy in order to stay healthy include:
- Regular exercise
– Swimming is ideal to reduce pressure on the body
- Proper Posture
– Stand Erect, and don’t let your belly sag
– Take naps often, and don’t feel guilty about it (sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees for additional comfort)
– Drink plenty of water, and eat lots of healthy foods whenever you’re hungry; Don’t over-eat, and avoid caffeine and high sugar foods.
- Always avoid smoking, second-hand smoke, alcohol, exposure to x-rays, and always consult your doctor before boarding a plane.
- If you own a pet cat, ask a helper to clean the litter box.
- Get checked by your chiropractor!