Chiropractor offers care for expectant moms
by Jeanne Ohm, DC
My husband and I began providing chiropractic care 30 years ago, and pregnant women have always been an integral part of our practice. To increase the chances of natural birth and decrease the potential trauma for a child, it's imperative to focus on the mother throughout pregnancy.
With the rapid increase in C-sections, many pregnant women are seeking chiropractic care. Although all chiropractors are licensed to adjust pregnant women, many have sought out advanced classes and certification to keep up with the demand and acquire the most up-to-date techniques for adjusting pregnant women and children. The techniques I teach colleagues focus on the sacrum, affecting the mother's pelvic alignment and uterine function.
A balanced pelvis allows for better baby positioning. When the mother's uterine muscle is free of nerve interference, its ability to function is optimized. Both are key factors for safer, easier deliveries.
We also focus on doing adjustments so it's safe and comfortable for the expectant mom. A pregnant woman's joints have relaxin - a hormone that allows her pelvis to open during labor - so chiropractors take care that the adjustments are gentle. Most use special belly pillows to maximize comfort.
Many women seek chiropractic care because they have pain or discomfort in their back and there is no safe treatment available to them.
That was certainly the case for my patient Louise Cohen, who was eight months pregnant with her first child when she came to see me. She'd ruptured a disc in her lower back years earlier, but it wasn't until she was in her sixth month of pregnancy that the pain came back.
"Not only had the pain become agonizing, but now I was losing mobility," Louise says. A rehabilitation physician and two orthopedic surgeons told her there was nothing they could do until after delivery.
Cohen admits she was skeptical about whether chiropractic care could help. "I was also concerned about manipulation while pregnant," she says, despite assurances from her midwife that I offered specialized care. Ten days later, Louise was pain free and had regained mobility.
She has since continued to receive chiropractic and wellness care with me and had adjustments prior to the birth of her second and third child. "I never [again] felt the discomfort I had prior to adjustments, and I believe I had safer, easier births because of chiropractic care," she says.
I've found many pregnant women see similar benefits from chiropractic care and are embracing it as they have with nutrition, relaxation skills and appropriate types of exercise. As a result, chiropractors are forming alliances with birth care providers who want to optimize womens' potential for natural birth.
I received chiropractic care before the birth of each of my six children, who were delivered naturally at home. So it's great to hear from patients like Louise about how gentle and rewarding chiropractic care has been for them, too.
Jeanne Ohm, her husband, Tom, and son, Justin, head highly rated Ohm Family Chiropractic in Media, Pa. Ohm is an instructor and executive director for ICPA Inc., the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, which supports adjustments for pregnant women and children.