Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"Normal" Pregnancy Symptoms

Low back pain, numbness in the fingers, shooting electrical pain in the legs.

Many soon-to-be moms consider these and other symptoms to be normal, expected problems during pregnancy.  While they are very common, you do not have to resign yourself to the fact that they will be a necessary part of pregnancy.  The simple truth of the matter is that your body is going through a tremendous change in a relatively short period of time and either adapts to it, or pain results.

The average healthy weight gain during pregnancy is between 25-35 pounds.  Any time that someone were to increase in weight by that much it would likely cause pain if the spine and pelvis were not functioning correctly.

When your spine and pelvis are in alignment and moving smoothly, your body is more than capable of adapting to the changes in your body without pain.  If there is a joint or a section of the spine that is restricted in motion, you lose a certain amount of your ability to absorb the stress.  If you have ever worn a cast, you know that it does not take long for the joints above or below that cast to start aching.  Similarly, as your body grows but portions of your spine lock up, the joints and muscles that overcompensate for the changes function differently and therefore hurt.  

A great example of this is a patient that I had a few years ago.  She came to see me after experiencing extreme pain on one side of her low back during childbirth with her first child.  On her first visit to my office, she stated she still had pain from the delivery that was impacting her ability to even get down on the floor to play with her now toddler daughter, and she worried about the pain with future pregnancies.  We started chiropractic care immediately, and since then she has been able to carry and deliver two more children without significant pain.

The best way for me to assess the balance of the pelvis is a specialized chiropractic method called the Webster Technique, learned during my additional years of study through the ICPA to be certified in advanced pediatric and pregnancy techniques.  I evaluate for any for twisting of the pelvis and restrictions that sometimes are associated with improper positioning of the baby and pressure on the nerves of the low back and legs.  By utilizing the Webster Technique throughout your pregnancy, I can help keep your low back in balance, allowing your body the flexibility it needs to adapt to the increased biomechanical stresses it will face.

Getting started with care early in the pregnancy is better than trying to make changes at the end to compensate for pain.  Let us help your body adapt to the changes gradually instead of playing catch up.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Role of Vitamin D in Pregnancy

You no doubt have heard a lot of talk about the health effects of Vitamin D, but how does this vitamin relate to fertility and pregnancy?  In a way that is a bit of a trick question because Vitamin D is really not a vitamin but a hormone.

From a structural stand point it looks very similar to the sex hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.  Looking from a functional side, Vitamin D is used to send messages to cells and triggers a change in those cells, just like other hormones.

So what specifically does Vitamin D do?  One of its major functions is to "prime" or prepare cells for other hormones to be able to work properly.  This is where Vitamin D's role in conception comes in.  For ovulation and conception to occur, not only do your major hormones (estrogen and progesterone) need to be in proper balance, but so to the role playing hormones, such as the thyroid hormones, cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, and yes Vitamin D. 

The level of circulating Vitamin D can play a role in resolving fertility issues associated with poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and lack of ovulation.  Of course there is the other side of the fertility issue.  Low levels of Vitamin D leads to decreased sperm motility and production.  So guys should be tested for Vitamin D levels also if there are fertility problems.

What about when you are pregnant?  One study reports evidence that Vitamin D plays a role in implantation, normal placental development and prevention of eclampsia.

You can imagine, if Vitamin D is so important to hormone activity, just how important it would be to the developing baby.  Studies have demonstrated a healthy levels of maternal Vitamin D in pregnancy are associated with a decreased likelihood of asthma, respiratory infections, Type I diabetes and even multiple sclerosis. 

Knowing and monitoring your Vitamin D levels pre-conception and throughout pregnancy makes sense and is easy to do with a simple at-home finger stick test that we order through our office.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Webster Technique and Breech Babies

It is estimated that 25-30% of babies are in a breech position before 28 weeks, but only about 3-4% after 34 weeks.  Most of the presentations before 28 weeks are likely just baby exploring her limited world.   That world starts getting pretty cramped around 34 weeks so baby will naturally find the most comfortable position she can.  In some cases, because of changes in the shape of the uterus, that most comfortable position is a breech position. 

Breech presentation adds significant risk to baby, including risk of trauma and lack of oxygen.  The common medical solution to this is to perform a Caesarean birth, but that carries its own set of risks for mom and baby.  Dr. Larry Webster developed a specific adjusting technique used to realign the sacrum and remove stress from the uterus.  In a study done by the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) they studied the cases of 61 expectant mothers that presented with babies in breech position.  They found that in 70% of the cases there was a restoration of proper baby positioning.

Pregnant mothers have been finding relief with chiropractic care for low back pain and leg pain for decades, but the evidence is increasing that we can help improve many aspects of pregnancy.