These last few weeks are flying by as we prepare for delivery. We’ve had an eventful last month leading up the birth, but what’s 2020 without a little more drama?
I was in a car accident around 33 weeks as I was rear ended while at a stop light. Luckily, my SUV took much of the impact and we were fine overall but definitely a scary experience! After any kind of significant trauma in pregnancy, including motor vehicle accidents, it is recommended that pregnant women undergo an evaluation for maternal and fetal well-being. Therefore, immediately following the accident we went to Labor and Delivery for fetal monitoring and were happy to see that she was doing well and there were no signs of placental abruption or preterm contractions.
However, as a result of the accident, I did develop significant back pain. There are a lot of musculoskeletal changes that happen during pregnancy, including increased force across joints, joint laxity in the lumbar spine, increased mobility in the sacroiliac joints and pubic symphysis, anterior pelvic tilt, and increased lordosis of the lower back. All of these changes can be significantly exacerbated by any trauma or injury. As I researched how to improve my back pain after the accident, I am so lucky to have found a chiropractor that is specializes in pregnancy care, and have had such great improvement through working with Dr. Danielle Drobbin at Midtown Family Wellness here in Atlanta.
I wanted to dive a little deeper into chiropractic care during pregnancy, as it’s an area not often discussed, and has been such a game changer for me during this pregnancy. A study by Shaw et al reported that 75% of pregnant patients who received chiropractic care during pregnancy stated that they found relief from back pain. Even though I was practicing daily stretching, physical therapy, and regular exercise, I still was not able to find relief until I began my adjustments. Chiropractic care during pregnancy focuses on establishing pelvic balance and alignment. When the pelvis is misaligned, it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby, called intrauterine constraint. This may make it difficult for the baby to get into the optimal position for delivery, and result in breech presentation. Through a special technique known as the Webster technique, chiropractors trained in this type of manipulation can focus on creating more space within the pelvis by reducing stress to the ligaments supporting the uterus.
This reduction in strain to the uterine ligaments and pelvic muscles not only opens up the pelvis but also leads to a reduction in pain within the lower back and the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a hammock of muscles that support the bladder, vagina, and rectum and just like any other muscles in your body, can be triggered to spasm. These muscles spasms can be caused by increased pressure to pelvis, pain in another area of the pelvis, or trauma. As a result, a tight or hypertonic pelvic floor can lead to pain within the other parts of the pelvis, thus leading to low back pain, buttock pain, and pubic symphysis pain. This then triggers more muscle spasms within the pelvic floor, and the chronic pain cycle continues. Through external manipulation techniques, this chronic pain cycle can be reduced by allowing for release of these muscles through proper alignment of the spine, pelvis, and uterine ligaments.
When introducing therapies into your pregnancy, it’s important to always first consult with your OB to see if they’re right for you. Although chiropractic care during pregnancy can be a safe and gentle way to manage a myriad of pregnancy issues, it’s not right for everyone, therefore discussing this option with your OB is always the first step. I am so lucky to have found such relief through external manipulation. I have been able to avoid pain medications and regain my quality of life during pregnancy that had been lost due to significant low back pain!
Have any of you had experience with chiropractic or alternative methods for pain reduction inside or outside of pregnancy? Please share your experiences below!
Dr. Shweta Desai
*Follow my pregnancy journey here!