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Can Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Lead To An Easier Natural Delivery?

It is well documented that close to 50% of all pregnant women suffer from back pain during their pregnancy at some point, and Chiropractic care is a safe, conservative and extremely effective treatment option for Vermont women during pregnancy.   The team at Hemmett Health has been specializing in pregnancy care for over a decade and we see fantastic results each day!  The teams in all our VT offices (South Burlington, Richmond, and now Montpelier) use spinal joint manipulation (restoring normal joint movement to the back and pelvis) as a key treatment technique in almost all prenatal therapy plans.

So what does this have to do with facilitating a natural delivery?

Well – HemmettHealth places a high priority on research and stay current on medical, chiropractic, nutritional and pregnancy related evidence-based research studies.  We were SO EXCITED to see this study published just this week titled “Effect of Spinal Manipulation on Pelvic Floor Functional Changes on Pregnant and Non Pregnant Women: A Preliminary Study”. (View it HERE.)  In summary, the results showed the following:

  • Spinal manipulation of pregnant women in their second trimester appears to relax the Pelvic Floor Muscles (PFMs) at rest
  • No changes occurred following a spinal manipulation in the nonpregnant control group; thus, the changes seen in the pregnant group may be unique to pregnancy.
  • This relaxation of the levator ani muscles seen with spinal manipulation suggests that spinal manipulation could be of benefit to pregnant women’s vaginal delivery by aiding the relaxation of their PFMs if this does not occur naturally for them.

Following chiropractic spinal manipulation to correct abnormal joint movement in the back and pelvis, the pelvic floor muscles relax at rest, ONLY for pregnant women!

Why is this so important?

Let’s talk about the elusive pelvic floor for a moment.  The pelvic floor is composed of mostly muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues that extend from the pubic bone in the front to the ‘sits bones’ and tailbone in the back. There are 3 main functions of the pelvic floor.

  1. The first is supportive – to provide physical support for all of the organs including the uterus with a developing baby and placenta during pregnancy.
  2. Second, the pelvic floor allows for appropriate voiding through muscular sphincters for both urination and bowel movements.
  3. Third, it works in combination with the diaphragm and transverse abdominus muscles to provide core stability to the spine.

During a vaginal delivery, the pelvic floor muscles must be supple and flexible enough to stretch far enough to allow for the safe passage of your baby through the birth canal.  It is an amazing thing!  However, too often, the pelvic floor muscles are abnormally tight and cannot stretch far enough and are damaged (strained or torn) during the delivery process.  One study showed a 30% occurrence of levator ani (the largest pelvic floor muscle) injury.

Almost 1 in 3 women experience substantial soft (muscle, ligament or fascia) tissue damage during labor and delivery which most of the time will result in significant postnatal pelvic floor dysfunction.  This can range from incontinence (not being able to hold/control your pee or poop) to having pain with sitting, with intercourse or with normal daily activities.

Back to the study.  What if a spinal manipulation could not only treat and manage your pregnancy related low back pain BUT ALSO was able to contribute to appropriate pelvic floor relaxation or ability to stretch to help facilitate a healthy vaginal delivery with minimal damage to the pelvic floor?  WOW!  This is why we were so excited to read about this very exciting and encouraging research.

Another reason we are so thrilled about this study is that all of our female doctors are trained in treating pelvic floor dysfunction via Hemmett Pelvic Floor Release Therapy (HPFRT).  Our comprehensive approach to women’s health care extends to assessing and treating many common pelvic floor dysfunctions including incontinence and pain conditions.  Did you know that close to 80% of women have some PF dysfunction?   Learn more by clicking here.

We are passionate about your prenatal and postnatal care at Hemmett Health!  Our goal is to allow you to enjoy your pregnancy without pain and to minimize the potential physical effects associated with the immediate postnatal period.  We have over thirty years of combined experience safely and effectively treating women during and after their pregnancies.  Now we have yet another reason added to the growing list of the benefits of receiving chiropractic care during all stages of your pregnancy.

Call us at (802) 879-1703 to discuss your prenatal and postnatal care challenges and needs.

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