Pregnancy can be a very exciting time for a woman. She may be eagerly anticipating the arrival of her baby and preparing herself for the big day. When the day of delivery arrives, however, she may not be prepared for a difficult or prolonged labor. Studies have shown that the longer a woman is in labor, particularly if the infant is not in the normal head down position, the more both she and her infant are at risk. Unfortunately, the drugs often used to speed up or induce labor can also cause fetal heart rate distress. Dr. Horst understands the risks for both women and infant during a difficult delivery. He often recommends chiropractic adjustments as a safe, natural means to help induce labor in the very early stages when there is less risk, as well as to help maneuver an infant into the proper head down position for delivery.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help with Labor and Delivery?
Regular chiropractic adjustments to the lumbar (lower) spine, particularly during the late second and third trimesters of pregnancy will help keep the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in and around the pelvic area free from restriction or tightness. Not only will this allow the fetus to maneuver into the head down position around the 37th week of pregnancy, it will also support the pelvic muscles during labor, helping to speed the delivery along without any undue stress on either mother or infant.
Furthermore, chiropractic care can also help in the weeks following delivery. The ligaments and tendons that may have been stretched during pregnancy to accommodate the growing fetus will begin to tighten up again. Regular adjustments during this period will help prevent these ligaments from tightening up too much, causing lower back pain. Additionally, new mothers may also place stress on their backs from lifting and carrying their newborns.
What Does the Research Say?
A case report published in the July 16, 2012 issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, and Family Health discussed the use of light force instrument adjusting for a woman in the 34th week of pregnancy whose fetus was in a breech position. She underwent three adjustments, after which the fetus shifted into the proper head down position for delivery at the 40th week of pregnancy.
Another 1994 study showed a 25 percent reduction in labor time for first-time mothers who had regular chiropractic treatments during pregnancy. Furthermore, women who had previously gone through labor and delivery had a 33 percent reduction in labor time if they had regular chiropractic treatment during a subsequent pregnancy
Labor can be a daunting experience for women, especially for their first infant. They will need as much support as possible to safely deliver a healthy infant. Chiropractic care not only speeds labor, but may also help correct for problems with the position of the infant at the time of delivery. This is a good reason for the regular use of chiropractic adjustments, starting from early pregnancy through the first several weeks after delivery.