The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed, but the mother, never.
A mother is something absolutely new.
Chiropractic care during pregnancy can help to minimize the typical discomforts associated with this time of transformation as well as facilitating an optimal labor and delivery. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is gentle, safe and effective, and is endorsed by a prominent medical doctor: “It is our personal theory that chiropractic care in pregnancy can help to avoid or relieve back pain and also prepare your back and pelvic structures for the stresses of labor and birth.” (Martha Sears and William Sears, MD, 1997).
Normal, physiological changes of pregnancy contribute to spinal stress in the mother-to-be. Hormonal changes include increased progesterone, estrogen, relaxin, prolactin, HCG, HCS, cortisol and aldosterone. Some of these hormones lead to ligamentous laxity and increased joint mobility which make the pregnant woman’s spine more unstable and prone to discomfort and injury. There are also important biomechanical changes that occur during pregnancy, including weight gain, increased breast size, change in the center of gravity, increased lumbar lordosis, and an increased load on the spine.
Birth is one of the most traumatic processes our bodies ever go through. First the infant’s body is jammed in basically one position in the uterus for the last couple months of gestation, a condition referred to as ‘intra-uterine constraint’. This in and of itself can create massive imbalance and restriction in the body. Then the body must endure the extreme forces of birth. Whether the birth involves passing through the birth canal, or being pulled out through an incision of the uterus, there is an incredible amount of force placed on the delicate spine and cranium. If interventions such as forceps or suction need to be used, the stress to the baby’s body increases. Intra-uterine constraint and birth trauma (which can happen even during a ‘normal’ or ‘routine’ birth) are major causes of spinal or cranial restrictions.
We have extensive experience working with newborns with complaints including colic, nursing dysfunction, sleep disturbance, and torticollis (among others), as well as those whose parents want them to have a wellness check after birth. Our approach is extremely gentle and most newborns really enjoy their treatment. Having a treatment this early in life helps give them the best possible start.
One of the greatest travesties in our society is the lack of attention that is focused on new mothers. After having been endlessly encouraged to care for herself, being doted upon and given lots of special treatment during pregnancy, the mother is all but forgotten about once the baby is born. This is a time when the woman needs more attention than ever. She continues to have ligamentous laxity, and now she adds to it the numerous sustained, awkward postures of motherhood. Breastfeeding for literally hours each day, carrying or wearing the baby, leaning over to change diapers, bending down to pick up toys, lifting a heavy diaper bag, doing all the extra laundry – the list of postural stresses on a mom’s body is endless (and this is especially true if they have older children as well). And all of this is handled by a person who is most likely getting less sleep, living on less income, and getting less time for self-care than ever before. Now take into consideration the massive hormonal fluctuation and propensity for mild to severe postpartum depression. It is basically a recipe for disaster.
We encourage mothers to come in for care as soon as they are able after birth. They are welcome to bring their babies and older children along to their appointments in our office. We are happy to work with the mama on the table as they kids play at our feet, or sometimes ‘help’ us care for her. We also usually have an extra pair of arms around the office to cuddle newborns as needed. Restoring balance to a mama’s body, helping her heal from pregnancy and birth, and allowing her to better handle the many stresses of mamahood are among the most important things we do. When she feels better, she can better care for her baby, and be more present during that magical ‘babymoon’, encouraging more positive interactions between mother and baby—what better gift could we ever hope to give?
Once the baby successfully deals with the stress of making the transition to the outside world, they begin to learn to control and maneuver their bodies in increasingly complex ways. Mastering the skills of rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, and walking involves a great deal of falling and countless ‘bonks’ on the head, the sides, and the bum. These numerous, relatively minor traumas add further stress to the developing spine and cranium. Additionally, this is a time of incredible growth. The spine grows 50% in length in the first year. Never again in a person’s lifetime will they grow that rapidly. And 65% of the total lifetime growth of the brain happens in the first year alone! To ensure that all of this growing is done on a balanced, stable foundation it is vital to have regular chiropractic and craniosacral care by a practitioner who understands the unique needs of infants.
From toddlers to adolescents, children continue to push their bodies to the limit. Running, jumping, wresting, climbing trees, carrying heavy backpacks, and participating in competitive sports all continue to aggravate the developing spine. Periodic chiropractic check-ups can minimize the effects of these insults to the system and prevent injuries from building up to the point where they create chronic symptoms later in life. It is our firm belief that problems that begin in adolescence or adulthood can usually be traced back to injuries that may have occurred years before. The structure of the body affects the way it functions. Underlying problems in the structure of the body can accumulate over the course of time long before they are manifested as symptoms. Even when a child is not complaining of pain, they may be beginning to store up the effects of injuries and abnormal tension on their bodies. These layers can eventually add up to create pain and dysfunction later in life. Chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy during childhood is essential to a preventative wellness approach.