Pregnancy and Adjustments
One question we often hear in our office is whether or not we can adjust women during their pregnancy. The answer is yes! In fact, Doctor Becerra recommends adjustments during pregnancy for several reasons, and he modifies his techniques to ensure that he is mindful of the changes experienced during pregnancy.
What are the benefits of being adjusted during pregnancy?
As pregnancy progresses, the body is constantly changing. Weight gain, mostly centered in the torso, affects the center of gravity, causing the spine to curve forward to compensate for the change in balance. This increases pressure on the lower back, often causing pain. Most of the time, medical doctors try to avoid prescribing pain medications, but then you’re still in pain! Studies have shown that 84% of women who are adjusted in their pregnancy while experiencing back pain received relief after only a few treatments.
A hormone called relaxin is also produced, and one of the effects of its increased production is a softening of the ligaments. This makes it harder for the body to hold on to adjustments, so periodic adjustments are a benefit in helping the body adapt to each stage of pregnancy. Treatments at time intervals of even once every two weeks will help reduce pain, restore function, and reduce any swelling that may occur in the spine.
One last thing that has been found by researchers is that chiropractic care during pregnancy can actually reduce labor time. Statistics show that for women with their first pregnancy, they experienced a 25% shorter labor time. For women with subsequent labors, they experienced a 31% shorter labor time. Doctor Becerra’s wife and our office manager, Michelle, saw this in her own labor and delivery!
How do we take care of pregnant patients?
Just as some patients require different techniques for their individual complications, pregnancy requires a few altered methods as well. On the first visit, Doctor Becerra generally does a thorough exam, with x-rays included. For the duration of the pregnancy, we will not take x-rays, but instead the doctor will complete an in-depth examination. After delivery, Doctor Becerra will then recommend taking x-rays so he can see the structure of the spine.
After a certain amount of time, generally five months along or so, it can be uncomfortable to lay facing down on your stomach. There are several ways Doctor Becerra can alter his adjusting technique: he can adjust someone while they lie on their back, or he can use the activator instead of adjusting by hand. With the flexion-distraction table we have in the office now, the doctor is able to lower a portion of the table to allow more room for the stomach so he can still adjust patients while laying face down.
Even though it might be a bit nerve-racking at first, it’s been shown that adjustments during pregnancy can be a huge benefit. With Doctor Becerra’s modified techniques, he’s treated many women during and after their pregnancy. After delivery, the doctor even adjusts newborns, so both mom and baby can get their adjustments together.
Source: Cara L. Borggren. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature.