Biomechanical Changes During Pregnancy
Welcome to pregnancy! Many things are about to change in your life, especially in your body. Understanding and being prepared for those changes can allow you to gracefully adapt, and enjoy your pregnancy.
Perhaps the biggest changes that occur in the mothers’ body are in the biomechanics as the body adapts to the growing baby. The center of gravity shifts forward as the belly grows, increasing the curve of the lumbar spine, putting extra stress on those joints. Increased breast mass also places strain on the joints of the midback. These new stresses on the spinal joints, combined with hormonal changes can lead to misalignments and fixations in the spine and pelvis. Relaxin is the hormone that is responsible for relaxing ligaments, allowing the pelvic opening to widen for the growing child, but it also leads to decreased stability in an already stressed system, amplifying spinal and pelvic imbalances. The combination of increased stress and decreased stability of the spinal and pelvic joints is the major cause of back pain during pregnancy. Increased weight and shifting of the center of gravity can also affect gait and movement which places new stress on the hips, knees, and ankles.
Staying active is crucial during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester when it can be most uncomfortable. It is important for mom and for baby to have good circulation and blood flow, and for mom to maintain good muscle tone for labor. This can be difficult with the changes and the resulting pain associated in the back and legs. This is where it can be beneficial to have a chiropractor on your team. The pain associated with misalignments and imbalances during pregnancy are signals that the nervous system is being affected by biomechanical changes. This is what chiropractors refer to as a subluxation. This is important because the nerves that are causing the pain also are responsible for transmitting signals between the brain and the reproductive organs, and pain usually shows up long after the function of the nerve is affected. This means that the vital reproductive organs may not be functioning and communicating properly with or without pain signals. A chiropractor that is well educated in the changes that occur during pregnancy can recognize and correct subluxations, allowing the body to better adapt to the biomechanical changes, and allowing the brain and body to communicate and function the way they are designed to. That is why women who see a chiropractor during their pregnancy have shorter and less stressful labors, and recover faster after the birth of their child.
We hope for the best experience during your pregnancy. Remember that your body is amazingly adaptable, and innately knows what to do. Be sure to build your team with people to you trust and who support your pregnancy experience.