NUCCA Chiropractic Care is Essential During Pregnancy.
As any mother can tell you, pregnancy is one of the most amazing times in a woman's life. To hear that fast heartbeat in your tummy, to feel the baby move, to watch with wonder how your body changes..in some ways it defies explanation and is truly a miracle.
Caring for women with NUCCA care throughout their pregnancy is one of the most rewarding parts of our office. Not only does chiropractic care make for an easier pregnancy, a shorter and more comfortable labor, and easier delivery, it also creates a better transition for the baby into this new life.
NUCCA care during pregnancy is not only safe, it is essential. We can look at the implications of vertebral subluxation and spinal imbalance from neurological, bio-mechanical, and hormonal standpoints. It is easy for us to see the postural changes through pregnancy--the body's center of gravity changes, the growing tummy and the weight of the baby places more stress on the low back and pelvis, and, toward the end of pregnancy, we see changes in our gait pattern (the "waddle"). What we can't see are the millions of different hormonal changes and chemical reactions occurring in both the mother and developing baby--all of which are controlled by the nervous system.
Beyond the obvious demands pregnancy places on the body, it may also bring to light spinal weaknesses that were present and unknown prior to the pregnancy but now become symptomatic. Back pain, sciatica, extremity numbness and tingling can each be worsened during pregnancy.
Establishing proper nervous system function, correct pelvic balance, and optimal spinal alignment are primary reasons to obtain NUCCA chiropractic care during pregnancy. The nervous system is the master communication system to all the body systems, including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery.
In one study, women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% shorter labor times than the group not receiving chiropractic care. Multiparous women reported 39% shorter labor times--that's a huge difference! In addition, 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with chiropractic care.
The potential benefits of NUCCA care during pregnancy include:
- optimal nervous system function
- a healthier pregnancy
proper spinal alignment and pelvic position
- reducing or eliminating symptoms of nausea
- relieving neck, back, or joint pain
- reducing the time of labor and delivery
- preventing a possible cesarean section delivery
Mom's position during delivery is critical to facilitate an easier, non-traumatic birth. The common reclining position places the laboring woman on her back, which narrows the pelvic outlet by 20% and closes off the vital space the baby needs to get through. This is why squatting is the preferred position for delivery. Squatting during labor and delivery enables the pelvis to open to a greater degree and works with the force of gravity to help the baby out.
What pregnant women report while under NUCCA Care:
- more energy
- reduction of headaches, neck, and back pain
- easier walking
- feeling "grounded" when walking, not "wobbly"
- increased fetal movement
- less discomfort during labor
- ability to have a natural, drug-free labor and delivery
Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether. Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.
NUCCA care during pregnancy is safe and effective. The woman lays comfortably on her side during the gentle NUCCA correction. There is no twisting, cracking, popping, or thrusting into the spine and no risk to the baby.
We evaluate women at all stages of pregnancy and, although head and neck x-rays are a necessary evaluation, all precautions are taken to reduce radiation exposure.
To schedule an evaluation, please reach us at 434-817-7788.
During my first pregnancy in 2003, I found women liked to tell me the trials they experienced during their pregnancies--36 hour labors, terrible pain, c-sections. I share my story to provide a different perspective, one I believe all women can experience.
Given my background in conventional medicine, I expected I would deliver my children in a hospital like everyone else. I never really considered any other option, although I was fairly certain I didn't want any drugs during delivery. I was fortunate to work with a certified nurse midwife while living in Iowa and she planted the idea of using a midwife to assist in my hospital delivery. It was not until Michael and I were seriously talking about having a baby that the idea of a birth center or a home birth came up. During our months of research and deliberation, the local birth center closed, but I was fortunate again to meet a midwife. This time, however, she only attended home births. I asked many questions which she ever so patiently answered, and I read the literature and books she recommended. What I learned not only convinced me that a home birth was safe for mom and baby but that I could have a natural, un-medicated birth in the comfort of my home.
When we learned I was expecting, we started prenatal care with the home birth midwife who so patiently answered my questions and her newly added partner. Michael and I went to all our prenatal visits as scheduled. Daily, beginning in month 4, I drank their recommended blend of herbs as a tea and had regular NUCCA check-ups. Michael and I took a childbirth class based on the book Birthing from Within by Pam England. This class changed my life and affected my birth experiences so profoundly.
As my delivery date approached, the midwives gave us instructions and a supply list of items to have on hand for labor and delivery. We borrowed a birthing tub, since the idea of a water birth appealed to me. By early April we were ready...and waiting.
Early Easter morning 2003, I awoke at 4.00am with contractions coming every 5-7 minutes. Since I had gone to bed at 2.00am feeling perfectly fine, this surprised me. I wandered from the bedroom to the bathroom to the "birthing room" (where the big tub was set to be filled). Since this was my first pregnancy and I had no idea what to expect, my contractions were surprisingly easy to handle. Michael, I'm told, was diligently attempting to fill the birthing tub while I was giving instructions about what to prepare for the midwives. I'm a bit foggy at this point in the story! I do very clearly remember talking by phone to our midwife at 5.15am, giving her heads up and looking for reassurance, as I had started passing blood. She advised me to go back to bed and rest and she would check back in a couple of hours. I asked when I should call her--she said I would know. OK. So I moved from the bathroom to our bedroom and was rearranging pillows when I had the sudden, uncontrollable urge to push. It dropped me to my knees, where I stayed, leaning against the bed, with our little dog kissing my face between contractions. Michael called the midwives who were as shocked as we were! They were on their way when, 10 minutes and about 5 pushes later, at 5.40am on Easter Sunday, Andrew made his entrance into his daddy's arms and into the world. What an amazing experience!
My next two pregnancies and deliveries were similar. Sara, born in 2005 and three weeks before her due date, was a bigger baby (8 lbs, 14 oz), so I "worked" a bit harder during her labor. I knew all day on September 11 that something was happening....I was having a bit of spotting and my braxton hicks contractions were stronger and more frequent. Yet, I went about my day with very little interruption. And I knew I wanted this baby to arrive on September 12. So at 12.20am, I awoke to contractions that were about 5 minutes apart. Total labor was only about 2.5 hours; delivery, again kneeling and leaning against the bed, took about 15 minutes. The midwives were at our home providing support, but Michael caught Sara as she entered the world. Andrew, then almost 2.5 years of age, slept through it all!
Kaylin, born in 2007, arrived on her "due date". Those last three weeks seemed an eternity, especially since everyone kept asking "no baby yet?". [Note to self...NEVER say that to an expecting woman!] Contractions began around 6.00am and were sporadic, anywhere between 15 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart, for about 4 hours. I folded laundry, fed Andrew and Sara breakfast, slept for about an hour and finally took a shower. We spoke to the midwives a couple of times. They asked if they should come over--I said no, primarily because the contractions didn't seem that productive. Really, they weren't all that uncomfortable. At 11.15am, my contractions were about every 1-2 minutes but still not feeling as strong as I would expect. Michael was speaking on the phone with one of our midwives when I casually made the comment that I could push through "that one". From that comment to the moment Kaylin made her entrance was 7 minutes! Andrew and Sara, who had just started watching a movie, were so surprised to see Mommy holding their new baby sister, when, 15 minutes prior, she was still in my tummy!
We were given an unexpected gift early in 2014, when I discovered I was expecting again! Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor!! After 7 years and at age 43, I was excited, if not a bit stunned to be at this place again. I mean, our kids were 11, 9, and 7! We were in a good place. I could sit by the pool and read while they swam! But after some amazing experiences of God's grace, I knew this little person was to be a gift and blessing in our lives. I carried well, kept up with NUCCA care and drank the pregnancy tea again faithfully beginning in the 4th month. I didn't experience any of the common pregnancy "symptoms" and stayed active throughout the full 10 months. Michael and I were out on a belated anniversary date about 5 days before my due date when labor started, although I just thought it was my braxton hicks contractions gaining strength. We arrived home late, spent some time catching up with our fabulous babysitter, and ended up heading to bed around 1:00am. At precisely 2:08am I woke up needing to use the bathroom. I was not thrilled about this, since I had barely been asleep an hour and, at this point, getting out of bed required rolling! As I attempted to sit up, I felt a gush...my water broke. Michael awoke to me sloshing to the bathroom. Since I wasn't having contractions at this point, I asked for my book and Michael went back to bed. By 3:00am, contractions started and I wandered between the bathroom and the bedroom. By 4:45, Michael was timing my contractions at one minute apart. Shortly thereafter, I moved to our bedroom and took my standard kneeling beside the bed position. Within a few minutes, I guided out a head and Michael caught little miss Abigail Grace at 5:08am. As her name translates, she is a gift from the Father and a grace-filled, sweet "oh wow" addition to our family.
Beyond the amazing birth stories, what is truly special with a home birth, in my opinion, is how the other members of the family (including the furry ones!) can connect with this new little person. There is no rush to cut the umbilical cord or to take the baby away; no rush to bathe or weigh it. Each of our babies was able to nurse within minutes of birth, which is beneficial for mom as well. The first human touch our babies felt was their daddy's hands. They never left my side; their older siblings had their own time to meet and connect with this new life. Even our ever faithful Gracie-dog was bringing her doggie toys to baby Andrew on his second day of life. How amazing is that?
I love to share these stories because they are so different from what most women hear from sisters, friends, or strangers! I don't do it to promote home birth, even though I believe home birth is a viable option for most women. I do it to share what is possible for a birth experience. Pregnancy, labor and delivery can be beautiful, not scary, painful, or full of technology. Growing a baby in your body and bringing that baby into the world is one of the most amazing and empowering experiences a woman can have. It saddens me to hear so many women give up that experience to "hospital protocols" or encounter such resistance from nurses and doctors when trying to have the birth experience they want.
Throughout each pregnancy, I thought every day about the experience I wanted to have. I had regular NUCCA check-ups to make sure my nervous system function and spinal alignment were optimal; I drank pregnancy tea brewed from herbs recommended by our midwives to assist my body in preparing for labor, delivery, and breastfeeding; and I believed that I could deliver my babies naturally, safely, without drugs or interventions of any kind, in the comfort of my home. And that was my experience, four times over.