All new parents know that everything changes once a baby comes home! For new moms, the changes seem to keep coming in the weeks and months following delivery. A big part of why so many expectant and new moms feel like they have a “new” body is owed to a hormone called relaxin. In fact, relaxin can be to blame for everything from your ring no longer fitting on your finger to severe pain in your lower back. Here’s what relaxin does during pregnancy:
- Relaxes your joints and ligaments to accommodate for a growing baby.
- Softens and lengthens the cervix.
- Relaxes and smoothes muscles throughout the body.
- Primes your body for delivery.
As you can see, relaxin’s job is to help your body expand as your baby grows in anticipation of delivery. Many women find that traditional postnatal care doesn’t help them to “bounce back” from the softening, stretching effects of elastin. Increasingly, new moms are turning to chiropractic care after pregnancy to get back in balance. Take a look at some of the benefits of chiropractic care after pregnancy to understand the holistic connection between postnatal health and overall health!
Why to Expect From Postnatal Chiropractic Care
You haven’t missed the boat if you skipped chiropractic care during pregnancy! Many women do find that chiropractic care during pregnancy helps them to adjust along with their changing bodies without injuring themselves. Before delivery, strategic massage and adjustments help to prevent pain and injuries stemming from the biological changes that occur as the body adjusts to a growing baby. However, you can still enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care after pregnancy. Postnatal chiropractic care focuses on helping the body to heal following delivery, adjust to changing hormones during breastfeeding and return back to pre-pregnancy health. You can also work with a chiropractor to learn how to prevent injury when managing all of the lifting, holding and carrying involved with caring for a newborn.
The Benefits of Chiropractic Care Following Pregnancy
Some new moms seek chiropractic care because they are experiencing pain or discomfort. Others simply want to get on a path to feeling healthier and stronger than ever in the postpartum months using a natural, holistic care plan. Here’s a look at what is addressed through postpartum chiropractic care:
- Fortification of loosened ligaments.
- Restoration of nerve function.
- Restoration of communication between nerves that may have experienced pressure during pregnancy.
- Correction of subluxations and blockages that occurred during pregnancy or delivery.
- Increased blood flow.
While the focus is often on eliminating lingering pain or discomfort, many women find that chiropractic care allows them to jump back into moving the way they did prior to pregnancy. There are also many benefits that promote general healing and wellness during a time when new mothers may not have the time they once had for sleep, exercise and healthy eating.
During pregnancy, the pelvis expands and adjusts to accommodate a growing baby. Many women find that things don’t automatically shift back into place during the postpartum months. Using chiropractic care, pelvic misalignments can be corrected.
Women dealing with chronic, lingering pain following pregnancy face a difficult dilemma. Those who breastfeed have reasons to try to avoid pain medications if possible. Treating the root cause of pain instead of simply covering up the pain offers many benefits over the medication route.
According to some research, chiropractic adjustments are actually linked with improving mood. This is something that all women with concerns regarding postpartum depression will want to know about. It’s believed that the endorphin release that is stimulated during chiropractic treatments is responsible for this “mood boost” among chiropractic patients. If you’re concerned about postpartum depression, it’s so important to be screened by a qualified care provider. However, chiropractor care can certainly fit into a plan for helping new mothers to tackle feelings of depression or “baby blues” following pregnancy.
Shoulder, Spine and Lower-Back Relief
Lower-back pain is one of the most common complaints both during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy, your center of gravity naturally shifts forward due to the increasing weight in the belly area. This is perfectly normal! However, leaving it unchecked could result in some very serious long-term consequences. Pregnant women often adopt a posture of increased curvature in the lower back to account for the weight in the front of their bodies. Most of us can picture exactly what this looks like!
Unfortunately, that famous “pregnancy posture” can actually be quite damaging if attention isn’t given to the lower back following pregnancy. Many women experience serious and lingering pain in the shoulders following pregnancy that stems from months of spinal curvature. The pain often extends from the shoulders down to the lower back.
Subluxations and misalignments that are caused by curved posture during pregnancy don’t “pop” back into place following birth. In many cases, women are living with subluxations following pregnancy that go undetected. Some women live in pain for years without realizing that a spinal misalignment that occurred during pregnancy is actually to blame. The good news is that one of the most common causes of post-pregnancy pain is also one of the easiest to treat if you see a chiropractor.
Improved Nervous System
Pain and discomfort aren’t the only telltale signs of spinal subluxations and misalignments. It’s possible to walk around with suppressed nervous-system function for years without experiencing any physical pain. Instead, people suffering from silent subluxations may experience tiredness, mood issues, headaches, irritability and reduced immune systems.
When Is the Best Time to Seek Chiropractic Care After Pregnancy?
There’s no set rule for when you need to seek chiropractic care following delivery. If you make the decision to use chiropractic care throughout your pregnancy, you can discuss a plan for continuing adjustments with your chiropractor after you give birth. Generally, the belief is that seeking your first postnatal adjustment within six weeks of giving birth is ideal. By the six-week mark, many of the hormones that surged through your body to prepare you for childbirth have worn off. Adjustments done during that window will allow you to take advantage of the fact that many of the relaxant hormones that were released throughout your body up until delivery will still be keeping your muscles in a more relaxed, flexible state.
One of the benefits of seeking postnatal chiropractic care during the first six weeks following delivery is that you can begin to prepare to return to working out and exercising. Most doctors don’t give new moms the green light to return to exercise until the six-week mark. Seeking chiropractic adjustment during that window will prepare you to be primed and ready when it’s time to hit the gym again. Additionally, chiropractic sessions allow you to get circulation and blood flow going during a time when exercise is off the table.
Don’t be worried if it’s already been much longer than six weeks since you had a baby! There’s no deadline for when you can enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care! In fact, many women find that they are able to finally get the healing they never got following birth years down the road. If you’re a new mom, make your postnatal health a priority by booking a chiropractic session!