There is so much they don't teach you about being a new parent. Sure, you know there will be some sleepless nights and lots of diaper changes, but what about everything else? Dr. Emma Swartling from Lumos Chiropractic
is passionate about helping women and children to lead healthier lives so that we all can grow and shape a healthier community, and she's written a little article for us to share about the value of mother and baby chiropractic care.
Mother and Child Chiropractic from Dr. Emma
How chiropractic care and body work can help you to settle into motherhood.
After much anticipation, they are here! Your new, precious bundle of joy has arrived! This is the moment that you enter motherhood! (Or re-enter motherhood if this is not your first) You have carried this child within your body for the past 9 months, and within you heart and your mind for likely longer.
Now that baby is here, it may feel a bit like a combination of chaos and bliss. Even with all the planning and preparing you have done, caring for your baby and yourself after birth may come with unexpected moments and surprises. The weeks fly by, yet the days are soo long. Days are filled with feeding, lack of or interrupted sleep, laundry, diaper changes, play time, and repeat. Your own needs get put on the back burner as you make your baby the priority.
Take a moment to assess your body and your mind. How are they faring?
You wouldn't be alone if you found yourself feeling achey, stressed, and tired. You wouldn't be alone if you were at your wits end trying to soothe and comfort your crying child. Birth is hard work; for you and for your baby! Everything that you experienced during pregnancy and birth, your baby did too. Birth is a life giving and life changing event that may require time and support as you heal.
Many women are now taking advantage of chiropractic care to assist in having healthy and comfortable pregnancies. It is easy to pause or neglect personal care after the baby is born as time and energy shifts towards that new life. BUT mom's body and mind may need help adapting to all the changes that occur postpartum.
That's where chiropractic care comes in!
Here are a FEW ways chiropractic can help your transition into motherhood:
Postural Changes During pregnancy your center of gravity shifts forward as the belly expands to carry your baby. This puts pressure on the joints, muscles, and ligaments of the lower back and pelvis. The lower back has to work harder to maintain balance and posture. When new baby arrives your body has to get used to another shift in your center of gravity. Next you begin carrying your baby in your arms. This can put more stress and pressure on the upper back, shoulders and neck. Chiropractic care for new moms can help to influence posture and restore normal movement to joints and muscles.
Soothe 'Nursing Neck' Many new moms report dealing with pain and tension in the neck and upper back, especially when nursing or bottle feeding their child. "Nursing neck" is a common condition of new moms from staring down at their child while they eat and while they sleep. Understandably you want to gaze forever at that beautiful babe in your arms! All that increased time looking down puts extra strain on the joints and muscles in your neck and upper back. It can lead to reducing or worsening the curve in your neck and adds stress on your brain and nervous system. Additionally, the posture you are in when pumping or using your cell phone can also contribute to aches and pain. When working with a chiropractor, they can help to teach you simple changes to posture that will reduce the stress on your body and help to relieve stress and tension in the neck and upper back.
Faster Healing Chiropractic care also helps to facilitate faster healing by providing better brain-body connection and allowing the nervous system to flow freely throughout the body. The nervous system coordinates and controls every other system in the body. When the brain and body can communicate with each other, you have the best chance for a proper functioning body. The body has to settle into its new normal after birth and this is a process that takes time over many days, weeks, month, and even years. Chiropractic care helps to ensure good joint alignment and nervous system function as you heal.
Emotional Support New moms often experience a roller coaster of emotions. Hormones are rampant leading up to birth and take time to return to a more normal state in the postpartum period. Chiropractic care can help the body to deal with the stress that many new mothers report feeling. It can help to support a balanced emotional state. Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments help to reduce stress. Gentle chiropractic adjustments contribute to reducing or removing stress which can interfere with normal nervous system function.
For the Babes: Why would an infant get chiropractic care? Because birth is hard work!
A study by Viola Frymann, DO found that 90% of 1500 babies studied had strains from birth specifically in the neck and cranial regions.
Common causes of birth traumas that may lead to strains include:
- Very long labor
- Very short labor
- Drugs; pain meds or Pitocin
- Birth position restrictions
- Pulling or twisting by hand during birth
- Use of instruments like forceps or vacuum for extraction
- Cesarean section
Also, more than 50% of ALL neurological development occurs in the first year of life. And more than 80% of brain development occurs before age 5. Since chiropractors help the brain and nervous system to function optimally, infants and young children receiving care in their first years of life have the best chance for excellent brain-to-body communication as they grow, learn, and develop! Chiropractic care also helps to improve the body’s ability to adapt to stress and challenges.
The body may need to adapt to or overcome stressors or challenges such as;
- Colic and reflux
- Constipation Neurological development delays
- Childhood milestones delays
- Ear infections
- Behavioral problems
- Asthma and allergies
- Sleeping issues
- Difficulty latching
- Breast-feeding struggles
- Birth trauma
- Low immune system function
Some signs of imbalance that show your newborn is working to adapt to or overcome a challenge:
- Head is often tilted to one side
- One eye appears larger than the other, like they are squinting on one side.
- Their jaw points off to the right or left side when yawning
- Favors turning their head to one side only
- Has trouble settling down to sleep
- And more
If you are noticing that your child is showing signs of imbalance, consulting with a chiropractor can help to determine if care is necessary.
Chiropractors that care for infants use gentle, specific techniques to provide adjustments. Infant chiropractic adjustments are like putting your finger on butter and waiting for it to melt. So gentle! There is not any cracking, popping, or twisting of the bones or spine for infant chiropractic. Many infants will actually settle into sleep during their visit.
To find a pediatric or prenatal chiropractor near you, please visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association's website to use their "Find A Chiro Tool".