Pregnancy and Chiropractic
Prenatal Chiropractic care and pregnancy – what is the connection? In general, the connection is one of function. The joints and soft-tissues that are addressed with chiropractic treatment have a physical connection to the uterus and their overall function is so important during the birthing process.
What is the Webster Technique?
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) certification program defines the Webster technique as specific chiropractic analysis and diversified adjustment where the goal is to reduce the effects of the SI joint dysfunction (a result of malposition of the sacrum (tailbone) and the adjoining joints, the SI joints. In doing so the biomechanical (how the pelvis moves) function in the sacral/pelvis region is improved. The ICPA recognizes that in a theoretical and clinical framework of the Webster Technique in the care of pregnant women, the SI joint dysfunction may contribute to difficult labor (dystocia). Dystocia is caused by 3 things; inadequate uterine function, pelvic contraction, and baby malpresentation (breech position). The correction of the SI joint dysfunction/sacral misalignment (with the Webster technique) may have a positive effect on all causes of dystocia. The sacral misalignment/SI Joint dysfunction may contribute to the causes of dystocia (difficult labour) because of pelvic misalignment and tightening /torsion of specific pelvis muscles and ligaments. The resulting tense muscles and ligaments and their aberrant effect in the uterus may prevent the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth.
The Webster Technique was discovered by Dr. Larry Webster in 1978, and was developed as a specific pelvic adjustment for pregnant women to help balance the pelvic muscles and ligaments in order to make the birthing process more manageable.
Performance of the Webster Technique involves analysis of the relationship of the bones of the pelvis, and correction of aberrant biomechanics through the use of a light force chiropractic adjustment of the sacrum. It also involves analysis and light contact to a supporting pelvic ligament. Both steps are intended to restore proper function in the pelvis and provide an optimal canal for childbirth.
It is important to understand that the Webster Technique is not to be misconstrued as the practice of obstetrics. The Webster Technique is a specific Chiropractic technique intended to establish biomechanical balance in the pelvis, and is well within the Chiropractor’s scope of practice. At no time does the Chiropractor attempt to change the position of the fetus. The Webster Technique facilitates easier and safer deliveries for both mother and baby.
Discomfort When Lying on the Side
This can be caused by stress or irritation through the Sacroiliac joints of the pelvis. These joints are so important and specifically related to changes during pregnancy. The reason being is the connection to the uterus. The sacrum (tailbone) which is the triangle bone at the bottom of the spine has a ligamentous connection to the uterus. As the uterus expands and grows the movement of the SI joints and the tension through the ligaments can change and essentially shift the alignment of the sacrum and as a result the SI joints. If there is a shift or misalignment women usually experience pain or discomfort in the SI joint region (the lowest part of the back).
Mid to Late Stage Pregnancy, Lower Back Pain & Pelvic Girdle Pain (Symphysis Pubic Pain)
The pregnant body goes through different types of mechanical stresses and the baby grows and the body accommodates. One of the reasons for lower back pain and front pelvic pain is a result of the forward shift in the center of gravity. As the belly grows and expands the center of gravity gets shifted forward, as a result the pelvis tilts and the natural curve in the low back increases. The joints and muscles of the low back and pelvis end up taking on majority of the load. In an attempt to compensate with this shift the upper back and neck can start to feel tight and stiff as well.
Chiropractic Can Help You Have Better Delivery
The functionality and ease movement in the SI joints is not just important for comfort during pregnancy but also in the birthing process. As the baby descends towards the birth canal it will pass through the boney ring structure of the pelvis. This boney ring is formed by 3 joints, at the back is the 2 SI joints and at the front the pubic symphysis (pubic bone). During this process, ease of movement of the sacrum and SI joints is so important to allow space for the baby to pass through. The sacrum will only be able to move as it needs to if the joints on either side (the SI joints) are balanced and mobile. Going into the birthing process with balance, mobility and ease of movement in the pelvic joints allows them to move as they need to and can result in a quicker labour and delivery.
Kinesiology Tape and Pregnancy
Kinesiology tape is a colourful tape that facilitates the body’s natural healing process by providing support and stability to muscles and joints, improving blood flow, reducing pain and swelling and controlling inflammation. It is an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive so it will not restrict your range of motion. An application of kinesiology tape typically lasts three to five days if applied correctly.
Kinesiology tape is a safe and effective treatment option in pregnancy. Musculoskeletal pain is common in pregnancy, especially low back, pelvic and round ligament pain. But by adding a few strategic strips of the colourful tape to either the back or abdomen, some of the common postural aches and pains that are associated with a growing baby bump are alleviated.