Alternative medicine therapies like chiropractic, acupuncture and massage should be considered when working to decrease cesarean risk. These alternative medicine therapies are very safe in pregnancy and promote wellness and comfort throughout the childbearing year.
Chiropractors believe that the cause of much illness and pain is the inability for the nerves, coming through the spinal cord, to send or receive information to the brain because of “subluxations” of the bones of the spine.
Chiropractors employ several techniques to “adjust” or move the bones of the spine and joints back into alignment, allowing the body to heal itself. Some chiropractors will also do some massage therapy and craniosacral therapy to relieve pain and poor function the muscles and nerves of the head and body.
Benefits of Chiropractic in Pregnancy:
- Chiropractic care is a very effective treatment for pregnancy discomforts – headaches, pelvic pain, carpal tunnel, backache. Feeling well during pregnancy does a lot to improve optimism for childbirth. When a woman sees her body do pregnancy well, she can more easily believe that her body will also deliver the baby well.
- Aligned pelvises help keep babies in proper positions. A chiropractor will help to keep a woman’s pelvis aligned allowing the baby to move. Midwives often send their clients for the Webster technique if they find a baby to be breech or posterior in the third trimester. Once the pelvis and sacrum are properly aligned, the Webster Technique focuses on relieving the tightness in the round ligaments. This allows the baby to change positions easily within the uterus so that he may get into proper position for his big journey to the world. Obviously, if a baby is in the breech position, a woman has a huge risk for cesarean section. To deliver a baby who is “sunny-side up” requires more space in the pelvis. This position causes back labor and is a frequent reason for cesarean section deliveries. Regular prenatal chiropractor care can do so much to ensure a baby’s head is down and facing toward the back.
- Shorter labors. Studies have shown that women who see a chiropractor regularly throughout their pregnancy experience quicker labors than those who do not. One reason for a longer labor can be the hours it takes to move the baby into a position that will allow passage through the pelvis. If the baby has already achieved an optimal position, labor is shorter. Chiropractors also instill confidence in their clients about their ability to give birth.
I have only known 2 chiropractor or chiropractor wives to have a cesarean birth in the past 23 years. And the overwhelming majority of these chiropractors and chiropractor wives have had short, progressive labors. Regular chiropractic care is one of the best things a woman can do to prevent a surgical birth.
This key component of traditional Chinese medicine redirects the body’s flow of “qi,” or energy, to a healthier state through the insertion of very thin, sterile needles at certain points on the body. This can be used to relieve pain, anxiety, digestive disturbances and other physical ailments for all people. Acupuncture has been endorsed by the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health. For women planning pregnancy, acupuncture is thought to improve fertility. During pregnancy, a woman can use acupuncture to help relieve things like back pain, carpal tunnel pain and nausea. Midwives often send their clients for an acupuncture technique called Moxibustion when their babies are breech. Moxibustion is the burning of the herb Mugwort (also known as “Ai Ye”) over certain appropriate acupuncture points. Since acupuncturists are often experts in Chinese herbs and medicine, a woman might choose to see the acupuncturist for other discomforts in her pregnancy.
Massage is not something that will directly decrease the need for cesarean but massage techniques will help to create an overall sense of physical and mental well-being in the pregnant woman. Feeling great increases confidence, confidence helps deliver babies!
Massage can be a drug-free way to deal with nausea and vomiting, headaches, swelling, backaches, carpal tunnel pain and many other discomforts of pregnancy.
Massage can help a woman access her hindbrain. Being in the hindbrain or “zone” is one of the best ways to ensure progress in labor because the woman is at her most instinctive and least fearful. During prenatal massage, the woman can work to completely let-go and enter a near Hypnotic state. Practicing going into the “zone” during pregnancy will help the woman get into her hindbrain more quickly and completely once her labor time arrives.
A massage technique that increases Oxytocin flow during labor is to cause “goose-bumps” by running fingers lightly over the mother’s arms or upper back. Not only can it make labor progress but it can be a distraction and way for her to get in the zone.
Midwives regularly employ complementary medicine techniques to improve their clients’ chances for having a birth free of interventions. Many of these techniques not only improve a woman’s chance of having a vaginal birth but they feel good! These providers invest heavily in their relationships with their patients just like Midwives. The pregnant mother will usually walk out of the visit with the chiropractor, acupuncturist or massage therapist feeling happier and more comfortable. The Obstetric Providers will usually provide a recommendation to their patients for alternative medicine providers.
Read the next post in the Avoiding Cesarean Series on Pregnancy Diet and Childbirth: