Second Opinion Magazine
When It Comes to Birth, Position Is Key, and CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP!
By Emily Smith Nguyen, Smith & Prissel Chiropractic and Massage
I don’t know about you, but I’ve made far too many residential moves in my life. If you’ve ever been blessed to help move a big piece of furniture down a tight stairwell, you understand the importance of knowing the furniture’s position and where the stairwell bends/twists. With this in mind, now picture a baby descending down through the mom’s pelvis in the process of being born. Though the mere inches a baby travels may seem like a short trip, the position of a baby and the alignment of the mom’s pelvis can make that short distance last hours, if not days. The inability of a baby to move effectively through the birth canal contributes to nearly a third of all births ending with a c-section.
As a Chiropractic Pediatric Specialist, I often work with a mom throughout pregnancy to ensure her body is ready for the birth process. The pelvis is made up of three bones: the sacrum and two ilium. The position of these three bones, relative to each other, determines the space available for a baby to transition through in order to be born.
Things that happened in the past, or things we do every day without thinking, contribute to the alignment of the pelvis, before, during and after pregnancy:
Accidents and falls, especially ones that involve landing on the sacrum/tailbone, can alter the alignment of the pelvis.
Sitting/standing with poor posture. We sit a lot—to work, drive, relax, etc. Leaning to one side or tucking a leg(s) underneath you can cause imbalance in the pelvis.
Carrying heavy items (purse, bag, toddler, etc.) on one side. This can be hard on your body at any time, but especially disastrous while pregnant because of ligament laxity and joint instability.
Crossing your legs. We do it without thinking, and often it feels more “normal” on one side, which can create imbalance in the pelvis if done regularly.
It’s important to understand the role the baby plays in the birth process as well. Position matters! The uterus, which houses the baby during pregnancy, is anchored to the pelvis by ligaments. If the pelvis is twisted, the uterus will also be twisted. Baby’s job is to be positioned head down and chin tucked. If a baby is breech (head up) prior to delivery, it’s possible that realigning the pelvis with chiropractic adjustments may help the baby get into, and stay in, a head down position. The occiput (back of baby’s head) should be in front and the baby should be facing the mom’s back (known as ‘Occiput Anterior’). This is the ‘easiest’ position for mom because the baby’s soft face is against mom’s hard sacrum. If the baby is positioned where the back of the skull is against mom's hard sacrum (‘Occiput Posterior’), it is often referred to as “sunny side up”, but there is nothing ‘sunny’ about it because this position may lead to a longer and harder delivery with more back pain.
Chiropractic care is helpful for people of all ages, and is especially beneficial during pregnancy. Receiving chiropractic adjustments to align the bones of the pelvis make pregnancy more enjoyable and increase labor and delivery success.