There is plenty of excitement and preparation involved as you prepare for the birth of your baby, but that be overshadowed by pain and discomfort. There are a variety therapeutic options available to help – just ask your chiropractor!
Why am I in pain? Low back, pelvic and hip pain during pregnancy can be caused by a combination of mechanical, hormonal, and circulatory changes that put stress on your musculoskeletal (MSK) system. Canadian chiropractors have the expertise to treat MSK conditions and are uniquely qualified to relieve pregnancy pain and discomfort without the use of medication – (usually not recommended during pregnancy) as well as provide holistic advice to maintain health before, during, and after the baby is born.
With a normal weight gain of 20-40 lbs., predominately around the abdominal region, most pregnant women experience a shift in their centre of gravity that puts stress on their lower backs. Your growing belly can increase the curvature (“lordosis”) of your lower spine which, in turn, affects your posture when your body overcompensates to regain balance. Your core abdominal muscles also stretch to accommodate the baby, and your back is left to support your increasing weight.
Hormonal & Circulatory Changes
The concentration of the hormone “relaxin” increases during pregnancy to help relax ligaments in preparation of labour and delivery. However, while pregnant, these changes can contribute to low back pain and joint discomfort. Another contributing factor is the increase in blood volume (which increases up to 50%) and can lead to inflammation and water retention (edema).
Pregnancy Pain: Low Back, Pelvis & Hips
MSK pain is very common during pregnancy. In fact, of pregnant women, up to 90% experience back pain – generally within the low back, pelvic girdle region or both – with up to 35% classifying their pain as moderate, severe, or disabling and subsequently, affecting activities of daily living.
Tips for Expectant Mothers
In addition to gentle, non-invasive chiropractic treatment, there are some tips you can follow:
Exercise! Keep your core strong so it can support your spine. Ask your healthcare practitioner about the benefits of swimming, yoga or other low-impact exercise programs.
Sleep well! We know getting (and staying comfortable) in bed can be challenging as pregnancy progresses, but there are a few tips to help get restful and pain-free sleep, including: Using pillows – while side-sleeping, place a pillow between your knees to keep your spine and pelvis in a neutral position, hug a pillow to stabilize and prevent rolling forward, and continue to use a supportive pillow under your neck.
Think twice! Maybe put those fancy heels aside until after the baby is born, and instead, wear supportive footwear both indoors and out. Rest frequently with your feet elevated. Know your limits – don’t lift heavy objects (or toddlers) if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort – ask for help.
Weis, et al. Best-Practice Recommendations for Chiropractic Care for Pregnant and Postpartum Patients: Results of a Consensus Process. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2021.