There’s no question that a woman goes through changes during their pregnancy term.
There certainly are physical changes as the body makes room for the baby, particularly if this is a difficult scenario or a first pregnancy.
Changes to the mother’s body during pregnancy occur. The most obvious are physical changes that are likely to affect the spine will begin to occur during the second trimester. As the uterus grows to accommodate the fetus, the lumbar curve of the spine will increase to account for the stomach protruding further forward.
In order to counterbalance for the abdomen protruding forward, many pregnant women end up leaning somewhat backward as they stand or walk. This can then place pressure on the pelvis, the sacroiliac joint and the ligaments, causing additional pain.
All of these changes are not isolated to the back and pelvis, but will also affect the knees, ankles and feet. All of these shifts in the normal position of the back can also affect posture, which may lead to sciatica and edema / water retention in the ankles and knees.
Current best recommendations are for pregnant women to not sleep on their back or stomach, but instead to sleep on their left side.
They should be in a fetal position, with the knees tucked up and a pillow between their legs. Unfortunately, this can be difficult for those who are used to sleeping on their back or stomach, as well as due to the fact that hormonal changes with pregnancy can often cause night sweats, making it difficult to sleep.
How can chiropractic during pregnancy help?
The most obvious targets for chiropractic adjustments will be the lumbar spine and the sacroiliac joint, in order to shift the vertebrae back into alignment, which will help relieve lower back pain. Adjustments to these joints may also relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve and help patients sleep more soundly at night. A pregnancy Chiropractor will help with adjustments and reduce the pain.
Swelling and pain in the knees, ankles and feet can also be addressed with adjustments.
Of course, the most important thing to remember when working with pregnant women is to be very gentle and make sure the patient is properly supported as the adjustments are being performed. Pregnancy is a time of tremendous change for any woman, and chiropractic care can help make these changes easier by relieving pain.