Chiropractic care through pregnancy is not only safe, it is essential. We can look at the implications of subluxation from a biomechanical, hormonal and neurological standpoint. It is easy for all of us to see postural changes through pregnancy - the centre of gravity changes, the weight of the baby places increased pressure on the spine and pelvis, and towards the end of the pregnancy, changes are seen in gait pattern-the "waddle." What we can't see, are the millions of different hormonal changes and chemical reactions occurring both in the mother and the developing baby--all of which are controlled and coordinated through the nervous system.
Adjustments result in easier pregnancy, significantly decreased mean labor time, and assists new mothers back to prepartum health. In one study, women receiving Chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% shorter labor times than the group not receiving Chiropractic, and multiparous subjects reported 39% shorter labor times. Thirty-nine percent-that's a massive difference. In addition, 84% of women report relief of back pain during pregnancy with Chiropractic care. Because the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis function better, there is significantly less likelihood of back labor when receiving Chiropractic care through pregnancy.
Body position during delivery is also critical. Any late second stage labor position that denies postural sacral rotation denies the mother and the baby critical pelvic outlet diameter and jams the tip of the sacrum up to 4cm into the pelvic outlet. In other words, the popular semi-recumbent position places the laboring woman on her back onto the apex of the sacrum, which closes off the vital space needed for the baby to get through the pelvic outlet.
This delivery position is the main reason why so many births are traumatic. Labor is stalled, the mom becomes fatigued and overwhelmed by pain, so the utilization of epidurals, forceps, episiotomy, vacuum extraction and cesarean increases.
Assessment Of Newborns And Infants
Greater complications during delivery result in greater neurological insult to the newborn due to injury to the head and neck. Even after vaginal births, 4.6% of term neonates suffer unexplained brain bleeds and 10% suffer neonatal encephalopathy. Because so many children had been injured with forceps deliveries, (facial nerve palsy, tearing of cervical spine musculature) vacuum extraction was developed. Suction cups are placed on the newborn's head, and the baby is literally sucked out of the mother.
When utilized, 120 pounds of pressure goes through the baby's head and neck. Decapitation occurs at 140 pounds of pressure, to give you an idea of the high forces involved. Remember when you were a little girl or boy and there was a new baby you were being introduced to? Our parents always said, "Watch his head-you don't want to hurt him." We're careful because the fontanel's of the skull are so pliable, and the neck and brain are fragile and unprotected. This is why so many babies sustain injuries to their heads and neck during vacuum extraction, the force is far greater than their little bodies can tolerate.
We can adjust babies as soon after birth as possible, to alleviate subluxations caused by in-utero constraint and the journey down through the birth canal. There is no better way to get a head start in life.