It’s the incredible miracle of life creating life through the divine act of sharing love. It’s the great responsibility of introducing a brand new human being into an ancient and complicated world. As the egg is fertilized and becomes an embryo, the developing child goes through many elaborate changes. At one point, the embryo of the human and that of a shark can’t be distinguished with the human eye.
But even as all of the wondrous and magical changes are occurring in the newly forming individual in the mother’s womb, so are changes occurring in the mother’s body, not all of them comfortable or beneficial to the mom.
One of the first things to consider is that nature gives the baby’s nutrition priority over the mother’s. The baby will receive the bulk of the nutrition it needs to develop and grow a healthy body, at its stunning rate, to the point of leaving the mother malnourished if need be.
Calcium is one of the big players in this process. In fact, it has been stated by several medical experts that osteoporosis in a woman’s senior years is set up to a great extent during the child-bearing years. We all lose bone density as seniors. But because men’s muscles put more stress on the bones making them denser than women’s in general, men’s bone loss isn’t noticed much as they age. However, women can lose a significant amount of calcium during each pregnancy to the baby so that when the natural amount of bone loss occurs in later years, it’s too much bone loss to sustain healthy strong skeletal structures, resulting in the weak, brittle bone condition called osteoporosis in her retirement years.
Also a great concern, but less well-discussed, is that fact that when a woman is pregnant, her body secretes a hormone called “relaxin.” (Even my spell-checker didn’t know the word.) The purpose of relaxin is to soften a piece of cartilage called the pubic symphasis, at the point where the two pubic bones join together in the front, just above the vulva. This cartilage softening is necessary so that the pubic bones can spread adequately during delivery to allow the baby’s body to deliver. This leaves her vulnerable to “subluxations,” misaligned joints, both in the spine and in other joints in the body. These misalignments can wreak havoc on nearby nerves causing either pain or improper function of various body parts or both.
For instance, we often see alterations in digestive challenges, low back pain and challenges in the legs during pregnancy and these can often respond well to chiropractic care.
So you don’t have to just “buck up” and suffer through the ordeal as so many doctors would have you believe. It’s not that they want you to suffer; it’s just that they don’t know any better. We can’t know what we haven’t learned or been taught.
One of the best things an expectant mother can do for herself during her pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, is to see a chiropractor at least weekly to get adjusted. Most have special equipment or techniques in their offices to accommodate the changes in your body’s shape and take away the pressure on the baby. I personally believe that instrument adjusting is the safest approach to chiropractic during pregnancy but if no instrument adjusting chiropractors are available, do see a chiropractor of some kind. It will probably make the both pregnancy and the delivery much easier. Mothers can typically get adjusted safely up to and including the day of delivery.
Regarding the big day itself, please be aware that the tremendous pressures and muscle contractions the mother exerts and endures during delivery are more than enough to misalign bones anywhere in her body, including her jaw. This is especially true when coupled with the fact that cartilage throughout the body is at its softest during delivery. I recommend getting adjusted during the first two weeks after delivery for all of my patients who become new moms. In fact, I think this is so important and recommend it so adamantly that it’s my gift to all my new mom patients.
It’s a great stress to a couple of other members of the family too, namely the new baby and the father. The tremendous stresses the mother uses to push the baby through the birthing canal is exerted on the baby. If they’re enough force to cause the mother subluxations, they’re certainly enough to create subluxations in the baby too. But because babies are so resilient, their subluxations are usually few and are easy to correct in the first few days of their lives.
The most common subluxation in babies is C1, the top vertebra in the neck. This subluxation is commonly associated with colic and may be a contributor to breathing problems in infants too.
And last, but not least, Dad endures a lot of stress during the time his progeny is finding its way into the world as well. So we also recommend that he get adjusted during the first two weeks of fatherhood too. Again, we believe in it so much, it’s our gift to our new fathers.