Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting and at the same time, physically challenging times of a woman’s life. Although a woman’s body has evolved to perfectly accommodate the needs of a growing fetus, there are ways to be proactive to make the experience more pleasant and supportive of both mother and baby. By taking the right steps, you can ensure a successful, stress-free birth while limiting the complications that can impact a woman’s health and physical well-being far beyond the nine months of pregnancy.

What happens to the body during pregnancy?

Pregnancy can place a tremendous amount of stress on a woman’s body. Changing hormones can alter the entire body. For instance, surges in the hormone relaxin loosen ligaments throughout the body. This makes room for the baby in the pelvic region, but it can also cause joint pain throughout the body, particularly in the lower back and hips.

As your pregnancy progresses and your baby grows, the additional weight causes a natural change in your center of gravity and to maintain balance, you’ll find your posture shift to a swapback position. This can put a strain on the spine and muscles of the back, further contributing to aches and discomfort.

What are the most common complaints during pregnancy?

Just like every baby is unique, every pregnancy experience is different. No matter if this is your first or fifth pregnancy, there are some common symptoms that many women experience. Although most are nothing for concern, it’s always advisable to discuss changes and any concerning symptoms with your obstetrician or midwife first.

During pregnancy, your body undergoes significant changes to accommodate and provide for your growing baby. All of these changes can lead to some common discomforts. Some of the most common physical complaints during pregnancy include:

  • Nausea and vomiting: Often referred to as morning sickness, queasy feelings can be most prevalent in the first trimester of pregnancy due to the dramatic changes in hormones as the body shifts into pregnancy mode. There’s even some evidence that shows a connection between more severe symptoms of morning sickness when carrying a baby girl, but that’s certainly not a hard and fast rule you can use to gauge the gender of your baby.
  • Fatigue: It’s no surprise that women often feel tired, particularly in the early weeks of pregnancy. This is due to the body working on adjusting hormones and creating an environment to support a developing baby.
  • Back pain: As the pregnancy progresses, the weight of the baby puts strain on the lower back. Additionally, hormonal changes, which loosen ligaments, contribute to joint instability and pain.
  • Frequent urination: The growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder, leading to the need to urinate more often, especially during the first and third trimesters.
  • Constipation: Hormonal changes and the pressure from the uterus slows down digestion, which can cause constipation.
  • Heartburn and indigestion: Relaxin, the hormone that loosens ligaments, can also weaken the valve at the bottom of the esophagus. This allows stomach acid to rise and cause heartburn.
  • Swelling (edema): Fluid retention, particularly in the ankles and feet, is common during pregnancy.

How can pregnancy discomfort impact daily life?

Pregnancy is a marathon, not a sprint and every expectant mother understands the need to conserve energy whenever possible. However, the discomfort of pregnancy can make it challenging to relax or get restful sleep. For those who are working and/or caring for other children while pregnant, physical discomfort can add to the stress and strain of trying to maintain all of the tasks and duties of running a household and having a career.

What are the complications of a misaligned pelvis during pregnancy?

Although some discomforts during pregnancy are unavoidable, many of the common complaints can be due to the misalignment of the spine. As mentioned, hormones loosen the pelvis to accommodate the baby, however this can lead to a pelvis which is more susceptible to being moved out of alignment. This can lead to pain and discomfort throughout the course of pregnancy, as unstable joints place additional strain on tired muscles in the lower back and hips.

 Your body may also try to compensate for a misaligned pelvis by altering posture. This can lead to additional strain on the spine and worsen back pain. Furthermore, a misalignment can limit the mobility of the pelvis, which can also hinder the baby’s optimal positioning in the womb. Ideally, the baby needs space to move freely so that it can eventually assume a head-down position, ideal for delivery.

How can chiropractic care help alleviate discomfort experienced during pregnancy?

Chiropractic care can be a complementary therapy in addition to your regular visits to your OB/GYN or midwife. An experienced chiropractor can help support your well-being by minimizing nausea and relieving back, neck, and joint pain.

Chiropractic adjustments help address any joints in the spine or pelvis that are out of alignment. This helps improve joint mobility and function and also reduces pain and discomfort. For pregnant patients, these adjustments are gentle and safe. They can also help to improve posture, which will help alleviate back pain.

Because misalignments can affect nerve function throughout the body, patients report that chiropractic adjustments actually help with other symptoms such as nausea or fatigue. Chiropractic care is a well accepted part of pregnancy care, providing a drug-free approach managing common complaints and improving mobility for a more comfortable pregnancy experience.

How can chiropractic care help improve outcomes during labor and delivery?

Most every woman, but particularly first-time moms-to-be, worry about the pain and discomfort of labor and birth. It’s commonly thought that, unless you opt for an epidural pain suppressant, there is little to be done to help reduce pain and discomfort. Anyone who has sought the help of a chiropractor during pregnancy knows that’s not the case!

Chiropractic care can significantly ease the labor and delivery process. It is particularly helpful in reducing the incidence of breech births and Cesarean section, and can greatly relieve the pain and discomfort experienced when the baby descends into the birth canal prior to the start of active labor.

Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy is Here to Support Your Healthy Pregnancy and Birth

Wherever you are in the pregnancy journey, from trying to conceive or preparing for birth, chiropractic care is a wonderful support that complements traditional prenatal care. By supporting pelvic alignment, a trained chiropractor will help to ensure your pelvis can move and adapt to accommodate the baby’s growth. With proper pelvic alignment, you can experience a more comfortable pregnancy and even a smoother delivery.

By using gentle adjustments and targeted techniques, our chiropractors at Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy will guide through the process of balancing your body. You can look forward to improved joint mobility and reduced pain throughout the body, particularly in the back, neck, and hips. Working collaboratively with your primary healthcare provider, our highly experienced chiropractors can be there to support you throughout your pregnancy to ensure the best possible care for both you and your baby.

Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Treatment for Pregnancy & Children’s Health in New Jersey

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