Being subluxated anywhere in your spine, at any point of your life -is not ideal, particularly if you are wanting your body to maintain balance and order. As you probably know your nervous system is the master controller of all bodily functions, so we want it firing on all cylinders.
Our nerves are the messengers between different parts of our bodies, they carry the signals that tell our heart to pump and our eyes to focus. A subluxation occurs when a joint is not moving correctly, upsetting the communication of nerve messages and negatively impacting our health and wellbeing.
Now a subluxated pelvis in pregnancy certainly isn’t a good thing. It does however happen frequently in our modern Western world because we sit more often then we should and for longer periods of time than our bodies are designed too. We live crazy, hectic lives and then wearily pound the pavement or the treadmill when we have time, or we go to gym and we pay little attention to our posture or technique. In doing so we may strengthen in old injuries from car accidents or sporting injuries or we strengthen in bad posture. And let’s not forget, that we forget……..to stretch.
Some of the reason’s subluxations occur in pregnancy are as follows:
– Hormonal changes and alterations to the supporting structures that make joints lax (think relaxed but potentially too relaxed)
– Previous physical traumas or accidents that have been left uncorrected and have altered the biomechanics of the pelvis
– Weight gain
– Poor posture
– Lifestyle factors and level of exercise
– Variations in the types of pelvis and how they respond to stressors
– Number of pregnancies and the status of pelvic musculature
Most frequently they occur in three separate places – in either of the two sacroiliac joints at the rear or the symphysis pubis joint, found at the front of the pelvis. Make sure you find a chiropractic skilled with adjusting pregnant women.
1. We want our pelvis to sit correctly and well aligned so that our growing baby has the freedom to move about in pregnancy. Unborn babies’ brains learn through movement, so we want them to be able to grow, move and integrate the world around them.
2. We want our pelvis to be free and happy so we don’t get aches and pains and we can easily refrain from taking anti-inflammatories and pain-relieving medications which can not only impact their little liver but can skew our unborn babies’ immune system and impact their long-term health outcomes.
3. When our unborn baby is also in a good birthing position rather than lying sideways or in a twisted location, they can follow the path of least resistance and proceed with getting the job of birth – done. They can move deep into the birth canal and press their head against our cervix when they are ready to rock and roll with labour. A labour that starts naturally is more likely to end naturally.
4. Delivery is a rough ride. If our baby is well positioned, they can squeeze through a narrow opening in the pelvis and then twist and turn into the birth canal this lends itself to a highly efficient labour. We like that!
5. Good alignment of the pelvis and spine, and a well-tuned nervous system supports effective uterine contractions in labour because muscle contractions are just one of the many things your nervous system controls. Labouring mothers rely on their uterus being capable of skilfully moving their baby through the pelvis. Think of it this way – your uterus is running a marathon it needs every advantage to be an elite athlete!
Williams Obstetrics discusses several reasons for labour abnormalities that may interfere with the orderly progression of a spontaneous delivery. Generally, these are referred to as dystocia which literally means difficult labour and is characterized by abnormally slow progress.
“Dystocia arises from four distinct abnormalities that may exist singly or in combination.
First, expulsive forces may be abnormal. For example, uterine contractions may be insufficiently strong or inappropriately coordinated to efface and dilate the cervix—uterine dysfunction. Also, there may be inadequate voluntary maternal muscle effort during second-stage labour.
Second, foetal abnormalities of presentation, position, or development may slow labour. Also, abnormalities of the maternal bony pelvis may create a contracted pelvis.
And last, soft tissue abnormalities of the reproductive tract may form an obstacle to foetal descent.”
From what we’ve already discussed aside from structural or developmental abnormalities, it’s easy to see how chiropractic adjustments in pregnancy, help Mum’s and babies overcome some of the hurdles typically experienced in labour. Chiropractic adjustments in pregnancy are not a guarantee of a natural birth. We all know that births are unpredicatable and the birthing environment can heavily influence a labouring mother and her birth outcomes.
In wrapping this blog up it’s important to understand – that these challenges that can arise from a subluxated pelvis can then lead to traumatic and disempowering birth experiences. They can subsequently also impact your newborn post birth this may unfold as breastfeeding issues, digestive troubles and sleep challenges.
So, all in all:
When a mothers pelvis and spine are aligned.
When her nervous system is primed.
When her uterus is geared up.
When an unborn baby is clued in,
and positioned well
then labour is more likely to start naturally.
When the labouring Mum feels safe, loved and supported,
labour progresses as nature designed it to unfold
and birth is more likely to be straight forward
with less need for drugs or intervention.
In this way, birth can be transformational and satisfying for mothers.
And birth can be a safe and beautiful adventure for our babies.
Seeing’s as both I and the Chiropractic profession in general, have come under much scrutiny and bullying (it is what it is) from the Friends of Science in Medicine over the last few years, I will save time by stating that Chiropractic is not a cure-all for any health condition.
That is not what I am suggesting or conveying.
True health comes from the nervous system, gut and immune system maintaining intricate communication and efficient feedback.
For interest sake, chiropractic is the largest natural health care profession in the world (doesn’t take a mental giant to see why we’ve been hit so hard). It also has a building body of ethical research that is not funded by big pharma. I’m not sure mainstream medicine with its mountain of research, can make that claim.
Dr Heidi Haavik. 2014. The Reality Check. New Zealand.
Neil J. Manipulative therapy and immune response: A literature review of the chiropractic and osteopathic evidence. Clinical Chiropractic 2012; 15(3): 186.
Plaza-Manzano G, Molina F, Lomas-Vega R, et al. Changes in biochemical markers of pain perception and stress response after spinal manipulation. Journal Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2014; 44(4):231-9.
Haavik, Holt, Murphy. 2010. Exploring the Neuromodulatory Effects of the Vertebral Subluxation and Chiropractic Care. Chiropr J Aust 2010; 40: 37-44.
Haavik, H. and Murphy, B. 2007. Cervical spine Manipulation alters sensorimotor integration: A somatosensory evoked potential study. Clin Neurophysiol. 2007;118(2): 391-402.
Williams Obstetrics, 25e. F. Gary Cunningham, Kenneth J. Leveno, Steven L. Bloom, Jodi S. Dashe, Barbara L. Hoffman, Brian M. Casey, Catherine Y. Spong. Chapter 23: Abnormal Labor