by Caroline von Fluegge-Chen
Being pregnant can be both exciting and confusing, especially the first time. The prospect of carrying an increasing weight around for nine months, different health considerations, concerns about delivery, and then raising a child is often a daunting thought. This is not helped by the fact that all too often pregnancy is viewed as a medical condition to be “treated” rather than a positive life-changing event. Frequently expectant mothers will unquestioningly follow the advice of their caretakers because they feel safer and are simply not aware of the choices available to them.
To ensure the birth process is as minimally traumatic for both mother and child as possible, consider consulting a midwife or other experienced professional who deals with natural birthing methods as soon as possible during pregnancy. There are many decisions to be made during this period and the more information you have, the better. Practitioners such as these will typically give a balanced view of post-natal care also. Choose the options and providers that you feel comfortable with.
Caring for your spine
Chiropractic care is possible and safe throughout all stages of pregnancy.
Pregnancy involves a large amount of stress to the mother’s spine and body. Maintaining or improving the function of your spine with Chiropractic adjustments throughout pregnancy helps to clear your nervous system of interference. This helps you to be as healthy as possible. During the later stages of pregnancy, the weight of the child becomes a major force to bear and hormonal changes begin to relax the supporting tissues of the spine. Maintaining the stability of your pelvis and balance of pelvic muscles with Chiropractic may also make for an easier, less painful and less traumatic delivery for both mother and child.
Birth often causes the first subluxations (which interfere with the nervous system) in a child. The immense compression and then stretching of the baby’s delicate spine involved in even “normal” delivery is very stressful. Difficult labor, forceps or vacuum extraction, and a caesarean section are even more traumatic.
Uncorrected interference to the nervous system can result in a large number of common childhood ailments, and if subluxations persist, will cause the spinal degeneration observed in many adults.
We encourage parents to have their children checked by a Doctor of chiropractic as soon after birth as possible.
The relationship between health prior to pregnancy and post-natal depression is currently under investigation. Challenges frequently begin when the mother’s health prior to pregnancy is “borderline”: usually with no noticeable symptoms but with minimal ability to adapt to extra stresses. Becoming pregnant, experiencing rapid changes in her body and having to support the growth and development of another life places extra stress upon the mother’s health. This may be more than the mother’s body can adapt to, and may lead to lethargy and exacerbated symptoms of “morning sickness” in the first few months.
As the mother’s body becomes accustomed to it’s new functions and the baby’s own internal organs begin to develop, less stress is placed upon the mother’s organs and these symptoms often decrease. Towards the later stages of pregnancy the mother may even begin to “glow” and feel “great”.
At birth the physiological stimulation is removed rapidly and the mother’s body experiences even more changes: feelings of lethargy, depression and resentment may occur which causes a great deal of guilt as the mother is not aware where these came from.
Chiropractic helps by keeping your nervous system as free of interference from subluxations as possible. This helps you function at a higher level and become healthier and enables you to adapt to the changing requirements and stresses of pregnancy as quickly as possible.
As well as the huge physical and hormonal changes, pregnancy and childbirth typically involve great lifestyle changes and is often a time of contrasting emotion. This can be an overwhelming experience for some women and it is important to have the support of family, friends and health practitioners.
The key: be well informed and seek support when needed.
There is no product better for human babies than human milk.
The benefits of breast feeding include:
- It is available when the baby needs it, at the right temperature, and is inexpensive.
The content of the milk varies throughout each feed and as the baby grows to suit the child perfectly.
- Breast milk supplements and promotes the development of the child’s immune system.
Studies have shown it may enhance the child’s intellectual development.
- It promotes the bond between mother and child.
- Breast feeding also lowers the risk of breast cancer for the mother.
Mothers who are able to breast feed usually describe it as a very rewarding experience. However, frequently mothers are unable to continue despite their best efforts. In such a case you might seek a Lactation consultant (ask your Doctor of Chiropractic or Midwife).
Common advice they give you includes:
- Seek a warm, quiet comfortable environment.
- Guidance on good attachment, alignment and position of the baby upon the breast, which will help prevent nipple problems.
- Information to minimize all the conflicting opinions about breast feeding and advice about bottle feeding for those women who are unable to breast feed.
- Remember that substances in the mother are passed into the baby. Avoid drinking alcohol, smoking, taking drugs or non-essential medications throughout pregnancy and breast feeding, and watch for intolerances in the baby from foods you eat. Common foods which upset include tea, coffee, chocolate, fatty foods, and berries.
The areas of your nervous system which control the production and release of milk may by affected by subluxations; have your spine assessed by a doctor of Chiropractic.
Can we ever be fully prepared for raising children? For most of us, it is a continuous and often surprising learning experience.