Times are changing! Gone are the days of pregnancy and bed rest. Doctors and researches alike are singing the praises of chiropractic and exercise during pregnancy. In this article we will discuss the positive aspects and precautions of exercise as well as the positives of chiropractic care.
Why should you consider seeing a chiropractor when going through a pregnancy? Chiropractic adjustments can help decrease the aches and pains associated with the changing body. Low back and sciatic pain are very common due to the accentuated curve of the low back, increased gravitation pull on the low back and the developing fetus sitting on the sciatic nerve. The mid back can also be aggravated due enlargement of the breast tissue.
Towards the end of pregnancy, when it is time for the baby to face and prepare for the birthing process, it is unable to do so due to restricted joint motion of the pelvis and pubic symphysis. Chiropractic adjustments help restore motion to these joints so that the baby is able to turn freely. In additions to allowing the baby an easier time to face, unrestricted joints allow the joints to expand properly during the birthing process making the experience less traumatic for both mother and baby.
Other positive effects of receiving chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy is that is helps to maintain a healthier pregnancy, it helps control nausea, and reduces labor and deliver time.
Now let’s talk exercise. Exercising during pregnancy has several benefits. It prevents excess weight gain, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia, helps maintain the strength of the abdominal muscles, and prepares the body for childbirth.
What are safe levels of exercise? That fist depends on if the mother exercised before pregnancy. If exercise is new, begin at a low to moderate intensity walk for about 20 minutes, working your way up to 45 minutes per day. Newer research suggests that working out hard enough to break a sweat is okay. Older established recommendations suggest not to exceed a heart rate of 140bpm. If you do not have a fitness device, the rate of perceived exertion scale works well (zero is at rest and 10 is running for your life.). The best level is to be able to carry on a conversation and not be completely out of breath. Other cardiovascular activities are swimming, water aerobics, and bicycling. Yoga and Pilates geared toward pregnancy is also highly recommended.
Even resistance training can be safe during this time. Exercise should be focused on increasing core strength such as the transverse abdominal, obliques, glutes, QL muscles, and long thoracic muscles. Strengthening the arms and the upper back can improve the ability to carry the infant, carry diaper bags, car seats and anything else you might need. Exercise can even help prevent low back injuries while putting the baby in their crib or putting and taking them out of the car seat.
It is a best to consult a physician before starting an exercise program, especially if you are pregnant. It is a very good ideas to know your baseline blood sugar and blood pressure before your start so precautions may be taken as needed.
Combining exercise and chiropractic care during pregnancy can make the experience much more enjoyable for the mom to be. Pass this information along to a expectant woman in your life so that she may feel good through this wonderful time.