In the past several months we have had the pleasure of treating numerous female patients while in the various stages of their pregnancies. In fact, most of them have been in the final trimester and several were at nine months pregnant. They all had a common issue: THEIR BACKS WERE KILLING THEM! Not only is the pregnant woman gaining some weight and therefore increasing the force and loading on their entire spine, especially in their lower backs, but the increased abdominal weight will result in an increase in the curve of their lower backs, which will cause increased pressure on the discs and on the joints called facets. This increased pressure will also make their discomfort worse if they already have an underlying spinal dysfunction as well. By gentle chiropractic adjustments to relieve pressure on the joints in the spine, the mom-to-be can definitely feel better and help her pregnancy experience as well. Based on our office’s clinical experience in which we have a combined 35 years–women who receive chiropractic care generally have easier deliveries of their newborns as well. It’s a WIN WIN!
Ok, so now after your newborn arrives, how soon after can one resume chiropractic care? The answer is, whenever you are ready; after mom takes time to bond, etc, and a certain recovery time takes place, which varies from mom to mom. Many ligaments have been loosened by hormonal changes and stretched during childbirth, which can take months to recover. Now, there is a new thing that can happen that can cause discomfort; that is, neck and back pain from nursing moms who are breastfeeding.
Speaking of breastfeeding, an interesting thing occurred recently with one of our patients who had just given birth, which has also come up in the past from time to time. That is the question of whether or not nursing mothers can get x-rayed safely, without any risk to breast milk. The maternal instinct can be very strong, so it is perfectly understandable that a mom would be concerned if there is even a slight risk of any harm to their newborn. Anyway, this patient had a spinal condition and it was recommended that a neck x-ray be taken. She indeed did ask if the x-ray would harm her breast milk.
There is actually information available that reports that it is perfectly fine and safe for a nursing mother to receive an x-ray and it will not harm breast milk. For example, according to a report posted on the drugs.com website on this very subject, “X-rays …are a form of electromagnetic radiation similar to light, but with a shorter wavelength, and are present only during the time that the image is being taken and leave no radiation or radioactivity in the body, or in milk. Diagnostic x-rays have no known effect on the milk in the breast at the time of imaging, nor on milk production, and no special precautions are required”. This was taken from a peer-reviewed journal article in 2012 from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
More information from Pediatrician Natasha Burgert stated as well that “it is perfectly safe for a breastfeeding mom to get any kind of x-ray, including dental x-rays or even a chest x-ray. The radiation in an x-ray may kill off a few of the living cells in any breast milk present at the time of the scan, but it won’t expose your baby to radiation”. And, it is even safe to get a mammogram which is more exposure than a simple one or two x-rays to the spine.
So, we hope that this puts moms at ease when it comes to the safety of x-rays on nursing mothers. Chiropractic care is the safest form of healthcare and can only make mom’s health and life better!