by Dr. Catie McArdle – Cranston, RI
Hey moms-to-be! Did you know that chiropractic care can help you and your ever-changing body during the next 9 months? Chiropractic care is completely safe and beneficial to both mom and baby. During pregnancy, there are several physiological and hormonal changes that take place, but there are obviously physical changes that take place, too. According to the American Chiropractic Association, the average weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds, which could result in severe discomfort. The protruding abdomen, pelvic widening, and postural adaptations all cause increased stress on the spine. Further studies have shown that about half of expecting mothers will develop lower back pain at some point during the pregnancy. This strain on the spine can not only cause pain, but can also cause nerve interference throughout the whole body.
Another common ailment that expectant mothers may suffer from is sciatica. This condition can cause pain, pins and needles, weakness, or numbness down the leg due to the irritation of the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the biggest nerve in our bodies. It exits the spine from a notch in the pelvis and runs down the back of the leg. If there are imbalances in the pelvis, it can become easily irritated due to its proximity to the surface. As a woman’s body is preparing for birth, circulating hormones cause laxity in the joints so that the pelvis is able to widen. Sometimes this laxity can cause misalignments in the spine and pelvis that must be addressed by a chiropractor.
Chiropractic is a natural, medication-free way of dealing with the pain, but it has many other benefits as well. Spinal adjustments help to make sure the nervous system is functioning at full capacity and all of the systems are communicating as well as they should. Establishing pelvic balance and alignment ensures that the developing baby has plenty of room to get in the proper position for delivery. This decreases the chances of having the baby in the breeched position, which would require surgical intervention.
Maintaining spinal health and alignment during pregnancy has also been shown to have the added benefit of decreased labor time and easier delivery. Some women also claim that it helped with their nausea symptoms. Safe, low-impact exercise is also advantageous for pregnant women, especially in the form of walking, swimming, or riding the stationary bicycle. Gentle stretching daily is also recommended to counteract the added muscular strain. Sleeping on their side with a body pillow between the legs is recommended to take pressure off the lower back.
There are certain techniques and specialized tables that doctors of chiropractic can use to help pregnant women be comfortable during the adjustments. Most women are happy just to be able to lie down on their stomachs again! Why not see how chiropractic could make your pregnancy healthier, easier, and less stressful?
Dr. Catie McArdle is the owner of McArdle Chiropractic and Wellness Center, located at 2220 Plainfield Pike in Cranston, RI. Dr. Catie has been in practice for 5 years, graduating from New York Chiropractic College in 2009 after completing her neuroscience major at the University of Rochester in 2005. She is a native of Rhode Island and worked as an associate chiropractor in Westerly for 3 years before opening her solo practice in May 2012. She is accepting new patients and is always looking to help patients get on a path to a healthier lifestyle. The office can be reached at: (401)383-3400.