For those clients who received chiropractic treatment during pregnancy, it is natural to want to seek additional follow-up therapy and maintenance after the baby is born (post-partum). Others who have never considered chiropractic care may not be fully aware of the benefits of realigning the body after giving birth. Ligaments and muscles loosened during pregnancy, and there may still be discomfort and sciatic concerns after birth, as well as misalignment from the birth and recovery period. These, and other reasons, are why post-partum chiropractic care may be beneficial to many women.
The hormone relaxin can keep ligaments soft for 6 months. This causes poor alignment, which can lead to lower back and pelvic pain. Holding a new baby stresses the back, shoulders, and arms. This can be especially pronounced if an older baby or child is held on one hip. New mothers can have headaches, neck/shoulder pains, or even carpal tunnel syndrome in their forearms. But the relaxin also has the benefit of making chiropractic adjustments go more smoothly. The body is still pliable and not yet scarred.1 Women who have had a lot of bed rest from a C-section may be even more prone to aches, postural strain, and discomfort. Chiropractors can also assist with proper seating positions and stretching techniques.2
In other countries such as China, and in the Middle East, there is a longer period of post-natal care for the mother. The new mom is encouraged to relax for many weeks, and extended family may help take care of the baby. In the United States, and in other western cultures, it is considered normal to resume regular activities a few weeks after birth.3 It is important to remember that women also need to take care of themselves in order to best care for their family. Health maintenance should become a priority. Chiropractic care can assist with this mindset.
Pain is Not a Lifestyle
“50 to 85% of pregnant and postpartum women to develop some form of pain” due to changes in the musculoskeletal system. Progesterone and estrogen, in addition to the relaxin, also increase fat storage, while the ligaments are loosened. Spinal stability is altered. When the ligaments re-tighten after birth, there is often back and pelvic pain. There can even be injury to discs. Women may refer to the pain as “mommy back” or “mommy neck”. Chiropractic treatment can restore alignment and reduce these issues.4 “Pubic symphysis dysfunction/pain, round ligament pain, lower back and sciatic pain, neck and shoulder discomforts, (and) headache” can be alleviated with proper post-partum care.5