Maternal health MATTERS!
Being pregnant is a wonderful but complex time. For some, the joy and wonders of feeling your baby grow and move is a grounding experience, a time to connect with the new life being made and the excitement of things to come. For others, it can be difficult, uncomfortable and filled with anxiety. Wherever you are with your pregnancy – we’re here for you.
At Active Family Chiropractic, we will support you on your journey – whether its pain relief or pelvic balance to optimise baby positioning for birth you are searching for – let us take care of you as you do for everyone else. This is your time!
The Webster certification is given to Chiropractors who have completed additional education and training in pregnancy care. It is a technique that uses specific sacral analysis and correction and is widely used in pregnancy, but for our non-pregnant patients too!
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From the moment you’ve peed on that stick and seen those lines, life is transforming. Your body will undergoing many changes during this time, the most obvious being physical.
Pain management in pregnancy is tricky. There are limited options for pain relief, yet the additional weight and strain on the body can cause a real mixture of discomfort and tension.
Many pregnant women visit us suffering from neck and shoulder pain due to the changes in weight distribution and posture, causing headaches and nerve irritation in the arms or hands. Others seek help for pelvic girdle pain or hip pain complicated by softening ligaments, growing babies and busy lifestyles still looking after young children.
In pregnancy, it is acknowledged that the overall shape of the spine changes in direct proportion to the changes in the body. Chiropractors that have had special training for pregnancy can use gentle techniques to aid the relief of discomfort associated with these changes and bring balance to your spine and pelvis.
A mother and baby’s birthing experience will not only have a massive effect on the whole relationship between mother, child and the rest of the family, but it also can have a huge implication in the child’s health and wellbeing. Here’s why!
It is not uncommon for trauma occur to both mother and baby during a vaginal birth. For example, episiotomy, ventouse extraction, forceps delivery, brachial plexus injury, skull fractures and emotional trauma.
When force is applied to release a baby from the birth canal, the nerves undergo a stretching process which can affect the baby’s wellbeing. The nervous system is the communication pathway for telling the whole body what to do. So, when nerves are irritated or damaged during birth, baby can become fractious.
Baby may show signs of this by crying inconsolably, not feeding properly, struggling to sleep, not pooing properly. If the symptoms are not dealt with and corrected the situation can worsen as the baby grows into toddler. A Chiropractic assessment and gentle manipulation can ease baby’s nerve tension and help relieve discomfort.
Vaginal deliveries are considered to be better for the neurological development of the child. Certain developmental markers, such as primitive Infant Reflexes, are stimulated during the infant’s passage through the birth canal. The natural activation of these reflexes ultimately enable the infant to reach their milestones eg crawling, sitting, rolling.
C-section deliveries, babies delivered at speed, or those requiring instrumental assistance are unlikely to have activated these reflexes during birth due to the lack of specific pressures against their skull bones. These little ones will still learn and reach their milestones, just differently.
Chiropractic assessment may identify areas where adjustment or gentle manipulation will assist a baby in developing and utilising their reflexes.
When there are also older siblings in the mix, there’s so little opportunity for you to have downtime and catch up on yourself. It’s easy to see why it is important to equip your body to deal with all this exertion!
In the immediate post natal period, your Chiropractor will be interested in any structural changes to your body as a result of the birthing process. It is likely that your pelvis has been affected by labour and delivery. Gentle manipulation at an early stage can help your pelvis to realign and help relieve any discomfort in the associated joints and muscles.
See your Chiropractor as soon as is practicable after the birth for an initial assessment and advice about gentle exercises appropriate for your physical condition. This will enable you to start the recovery process in the best possible way.
On an ongoing basis, your Chiropractor will coach you to adopt appropriate positioning as your baby gains weight and becomes heavier to feed, carry and soothe.
As your body changes post-birth, your Chiropractor can gently manipulate your joints and ligaments to help them retract correctly, helping to guard against post-natal related aches and pains in the future.
Regular assessment and manipulation can help improve the function of your nervous system once again, aiding your body’s resilience in the face of your new routines, and improving your ability to fight illness.
Your Chiropractor will not only assess and support the function of your nervous system, and any discomfort or pain you have, but also advise and reassure you about diet, routine, exercise and general well being.
Chiropractors are concerned about holistic wellbeing, so don’t be embarrassed to ask us for help with a whole range of activities – from lifting and carrying techniques to the most appropriate height for the pram handle! We’re here to help.
It’s great to model this type of self-care so that your children see how it’s done! Just as you would visit the dentist, the hygienist, the GP, the optician and other professionals on a regular basis, visiting your Chiropractor helps you and your family maintain a healthy lifestyle.
We encourage you to have your child regularly seen by a Chiropractor too. The initial impact on their spine and joints happens during the birth process and, as we all know, bumps and tumbles in the early years, followed by carrying schoolbags, using electronic devices and longer periods sitting at a desk, will all put pressure on their growing joints.
Find out more about Chiropractic for children, and do get in touch if you have any concerns about your child’s health in this regard or would simply like to book them in for an initial assessment.
My bottom line is that by positively affecting pregnancy and helping baby to come out as easily as possible so that mum has an easy, non-complicated vaginal birth, I safeguard the future health of the child and help them to achieve their potential.
Health to me is a wealth that shouldn’t be take for granted, but often is.
My hope for my kids as a mum is for them to be healthy and happy, as I think it is with most parents, and great chiropractic care even before they come into the world is a good starting point.Melanie Rogers