3 reasons why your baby will thank you for going to a Chiropractor while you are pregnant Part 1
Updated: Nov 17, 2018
The name of my business is Bright Start Chiropractic. I chose this name because it represents what I am passionate about which is helping babies build strong healthy brains. There are many books that discuss ways to help build a healthy baby brain. The topics these books discuss are vital. Talking to your baby, smiling at them, eye contact to name a few of the strategies. I want to share what these books never talk about which is how the spine and cranium impact a baby's brain. Specifically when the spine and cranium can not move normally it turns down the lights in the brain. Hence the name Bright Start Chiropractic. My goal is to turn up the lights in babies' brains because it means they smile more, laugh more, play more, learn faster, and much more. This post we will discuss why Chiropractic during pregnancy provides a better environment for babies' brains to grow.
Pregnancy Life Events
In 1998 there was a massive ice storm in Quebec and other parts of the northeastern United States. It was huge. Ice layered so think that the towers that held up electric lines collapsed under the tremendous weight. People lost power for days on end and couldn't heat their homes. It was so cold that breathing through your nose caused an intense burning pain. People's lips were so numb that it made speaking difficult because their lips couldn't move. It was a stressful time. People had to leave their homes and find somewhere to stay that had heat. People's homes flooded after the freezing temperatures froze the water in water pipes. For some who had generators they could heat their home but they wondered if they would wake up in the morning. Some in home generators were releasing carbon monoxide into the home slowly killing the occupants.
Now imagine your pregnant during this time. You can't drive because your car has 1-2 inch thick blanket of ice on it. If your car wasn't covered in ice the roads were like walking on a carpet of banana peels making driving dangerous. Walking wasn't any better because at any moment you could find yourself wondering how you ended up on your back looking at the sky in an instant. Assuming you could find someone to stay with or somewhere to find shelter doesn't mean your going to enjoy it.
Next is food. Your nauseous and the smell of canned tuna make you want to empty your stomach but that is the only food you have around.
Needless to say this was a stressful time for many pregnant women. Shortly after this ice storm they interviewed some of the women affected during this time. They had them fill out questionnaires to understand their overall stress levels during the storm. Then they looked at the children of these women @ 12 years later. Guess what....the children born to mothers who were under the most stress had more health challenges. The health challenges were increased learning disabilities, obesity, blood sugar issues, asthma, and immune system problems. https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/pregnancy-stress-during-1998-ice-storm-linked-to-genetic-changes-in-children-after-birth-study-suggests/article20868841/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com& This is fascinating to see how hardships during pregnancy can affect the baby. It also reinforces the importance of self care during pregnancy
A very common problem
Obviously this event is not common for many women. But there is something that is very common which is a big stress, back pain during pregnancy. 1 out of every 2 pregnant women will have back pain at some point. Back pain will shorten the number of restful nights of sleep, it makes women more inactive and it is emotionally draining. Here is the really crazy part most women think back pain is normal during pregnancy. Really? Because they think it is normal they don't seek out any form of assistance. OK lets look to see how this cycle self perpetuates.
"My back pain is normal so I'm not going to do anything about it. I didn't do anything and my back still hurts but....its normal so no need to do anything." Rinse and repeat
Or there is another scenario. "My back hurts this sucks and I want to change it. I go to a Chiropractor and now I can sleep through the night without pain. Now I'm sleeping better I have more energy to do Yoga. I'm doing more Yoga and my body feels even better." A positive cycle perpetuates.
Which would you choose?
3 reasons your baby will thank you
There are 3 great big benefits to your baby when you see a Chiropractor and generally take better care of yourself during pregnancy.
Your baby has more room to move
You have more happy chemicals in your blood stream so your baby is happier in the womb
Delivery is typically easier on the baby i.e. shorter labor, less interventions, more gentle
In this article part 1 we are going to discuss baby having more room to move.
More room to move
A women I took care of was referred to me by her Bradley method class instructor. She had an old low back injury that began to bother her again during pregnancy. It was making her wake up at night 2-3 times and would keep her awake for an hour or so. She was very focused on having a birth with as little intervention as possible. So she sought me out for help
One of the things I noticed while doing my evaluation for her was the baby was shifted over to one side of her belly. Her hips were not even either. Her belly also felt very firm.
After making gentle adjustments to restore normal movement to her body we both saw an immediate difference in her belly. The baby was resting in the middle instead of off to the right. Also her belly was softer and more relaxed. She could feel the difference because it felt more comfortable for her to carry her baby.
Chinese Finger Trap
Why would an adjustment help change where the baby lies in the belly? The uterus is basically suspended inside of the abdomen by different ligaments and connective tissue. These ligaments attach to the bones so they have something solid to anchor to. When the body especially the pelvis can't move right it pulls more on some ligaments than others.
Creating an effect like a Chinese finger trap.
Remember playing with these as kid. As you pull try to pull your fingers out the trap becomes tighter and tighter. A similar thing happens when the pelvis can't move it puts more tension on the belly and uterus. Hence the baby has less room to move because the uterus is tighter around them.
Pain is a warning signal
Back pain during pregnancy while very common does not have to be normal. Pain is usually a sign of dysfunction. It is a signal to tell us to do something. Typically when people have pain they try to do something about it. But when it comes to pregnancy this belief of "normal back pain" has deep roots like bad weed. It doesn't serve women but it is left in the soil of our collective consciousness.
In the case of pregnancy back pain can indicate things are not moving right which can mean baby has less room to move.
Pay attention to the Signs
First reason why it is important for baby to have more room to move. Studies of why plagiocephaly/wierd head shape happens in babies indicate that intrauterine constraint may be a reason. Intrauterine constraint is a fancy way of saying a tight uterus. Which is what we were just discussing. As we spoke of in a previous article plagiocephaly can lead to developmental delays in babies.
Poor development of baby's vestibular system is the second reason lack of movement is bad. This is more my opinion than anything I could find in the literature but it makes sense. The vestibular system begins to develop @ 2 months after baby is conceived. The vestibular system lets us know where we are in space. The vestibular system is stimulated by movement. But there is also really interesting info showing the vestibular system to be the organizer of the information coming in from the other senses. Think sensory processing or what is common to hear today is Sensory Processing Disorder. When you move i.e. take walk don't you feel more clear headed and you can process information better?
When a baby can't move around as easily they are having less stimulus to their developing vestibular system. As well because mom is in pain she is typically moving less which means baby's not feeling much movement from mom.
With gentle Chiropractic it restores your ability to move normally and loosens the finger trap so baby has more room to move inside of you.
Pain is not normal. It is a signal from your body that something is off. The woman I mentioned before did great under care. She slept way better, she was able to move much easier, she took more walks, and her birth went exactly as she wanted it to.
Take action baby will thank you for it.
In part 2 we will be talking about happy chemicals for baby. Why Mom's who sleep better and move more release more happy chemicals.