Pregnancy and Your Body: Optimizing Function, Minimizing Discomfort

by Dr. Robin Armstrong, Chiropractor, Active Release Provider

Pregnancy is an exciting time for you and your family, not to mention your body.  As your uterus expands to accommodate your growing baby a variety of changes occur that effect the balance in your frame.  Keeping your body balanced during this time can not only relieve discomfort but can also optimize your labour and the development of your baby.

Changing Posture

As your pregnancy progresses, a hormone known as ‘relaxin’ is released to enable the joints surrounding your pelvis to expand for the passage of your baby.  This hormone acts throughout your body causing all your joints to become more supple and moveable.  You may experience more flexibility or you may begin to experience discomfort in areas you have had problems in the past.  Your centre of gravity is beginning to change as your belly expands while the baby grows, increasing the curve in your low back.  For women who have had low back pain in the past, this might become aggravating.  In addition your breasts are changing and may start to put strain across your mid back between your shoulders.  For some women, pregnancy is the first time they have experienced back pain.  Often this is due to a combination of factors above: a change in the distribution of weight, and an increase in mobility of the joints.

Relieving Pain

On of the many benefits of exercise during pregnancy is decreasing discomfort from the many changes to your frame.  A regular walking and stretching routine can help keep your muscles long and loose.  Exercise programs such as prenatal yoga, prenatal fitness, or aqua fitness can be a great way to have a program tailored to your pregnant body as well as meet other pregnant moms.  If you are finding that these solutions are still resulting in back or pelvic discomfort, chiropractic is a gentle and safe treatment modality.  Using techniques specific to pregnant women, greater balance can be achieved with chiropractic adjustments or Active Release Technique, a muscular treatment for tight and tense muscles.

Supporting Baby

The uterus is suspended in the pelvic bowl with ligaments that attach to the pelvis.  If the pelvis is aligned normally, the uterus can expand without restriction.  If the pelvis is misaligned due to a history of problems, or due to the action of relaxin on the joints, the uterus can sometimes become slightly twisted which causes the baby to be positioned in a more cramped space.  Sometimes when a baby is in a malposition prior to labour, or if labour is not progressing smoothly, it can be attributed to this malalignment of the pelvis which impacts the position of the uterus, and thus the baby.  Religning the pelvis allows the baby to move free of restriction.  Research has even shown that women under regular chiropractic care have shorter labours.

Enjoying the Changes

During your pregnancy your body changes and grows in exciting ways. Don’t let pain or discomfort stop you from appreciating this exciting time in you and your baby’s life.

If you have any questions about how chiropractic might benefit your pregnancy, please feel free to call the office and speak with Dr. Armstrong directly.604-742-8383