Having a baby is a HUGE deal – physically and emotionally! There are so many changes that happen over the course of the 40ish weeks of pregnancy and well into the postpartum period. Each stage of pregnancy presents its own set of physical challenges and emotional stressors. Being mindful of your movements and your stress through all these changes can be challenging. Here are a few simple suggestions to help your body and your mind ease into motherhood.
Early in pregnancy
A common complaint for moms between the 12-20 week mark in pregnancy is a burning type of pain in the front of the belly and down to the pubic bone. This pain is most commonly originating from the round ligaments. The round ligaments are important in supporting the uterus as it grows. Any imbalance in the round ligaments can cause pulling on the uterus. Tension on the uterus is significant because it may limit the room baby has to move and grow in the ideal head down, posterior position.
Round ligaments are one of the structures addressed during a chiropractic adjustment using the Webster Technique, and many moms experience relief from this type of pain after an adjustment.
Another tip you can try at home is massaging these ligaments. The round ligaments are located about two inches down and at a 45-degree angle from the hip bones. Use your favorite belly cream or coconut oil and gently massage the ligaments on both sides. It is very important that you massage both sides to maintain balance in the pelvis.
Later in pregnancy
A little later in pregnancy, the most common complaint from moms is a sharp, stabbing pain very low in the pelvis. It often hurts to walk. The culprit for this type of pain is often the pubic symphysis. The two sides of the pelvic bones are attached in the front by a small, slightly moveable bit of cartilage that holds the pelvis together. As the pelvis is relaxing and widening during pregnancy, it is not uncommon from the pelvic bones to become misaligned. This results in the sharp, stabbing type of pain, which is also referred to as symphysis pubis dysfunction or SPD.
The alignment of the pelvis and the pubic bones are also addressed during a chiropractic adjustment using the Webster Technique, and many of our moms experience relief from this type of pain after an adjustment.
Mindful movement is important to maintain balance at the pubic symphysis. Big leg movements, like getting into a care or in and out of bed should be avoided. Instead, sit down first with both legs facing forward, then rotate bringing both of your legs into the car or on the bed at the same time. Always use a pillow between your legs when sleeping on your side, and try to keep both legs on top of one another at roughly 90 degrees to maintain optimal pelvic alignment.
You brought a human home! Congratulations! During the postpartum phase, it is easy to shift all of the focus to the new baby. Self-care is extremely important during this time because your body is healing too! The body is working to tighten all of the ligaments that were stretched during pregnancy. Balancing motions during this time helps allow proper alignment as the healing progresses.
Using a backpack diaper bag on both shoulders that sits just above your hip bones is a great way to carry baby’s necessities. Try to travel light as much as possible. It is common to see moms with a hunched forward posture from feeding the baby. Instead, try sitting up in a supportive chair and bringing baby to you. A chest opening stretch done in a doorway with one arm at 90-degrees while leaning in is a great way to open up your posture. This stretch should be felt in the front of the shoulder. Chiropractic care is also a great way to make sure your body is being supported both structurally as it is healing, and also hormonally as your body adapts to different hormone levels.
During all of the phases
Stress management is important during all of the phases of motherhood. Every mom wants to be her best for her kids, and that can be challenging when stress takes over. When moms are stressed out during pregnancy they often give birth to stressed babies, and the moms are even more stressed after birth. Chiropractic care can help manage stress both during pregnancy and into motherhood. By balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic sides of the nervous system, adjustments allow your body to slip into the rest and healing it needs. The same is true of a chiropractic adjustment for a new baby; it helps their nervous system relax from the challenge of being born and switch into a state of growth and relaxation.
Motherhood is an amazing journey and the more support moms have through the process, the easier the journey. If you are struggling with some of the challenges mentioned above, or need more support in your journey, please reach out. We would love to hear from you!