Morning sickness. Vomiting. Nausea. Back pain. Pelvic pain. Shortness of breath. Hormones gone wild. High blood pressure. Swollen ankles.
These symptoms are seen as normal during pregnancy, something you better get used to for the next 38-42 weeks. You wanted a baby, now deal with it. Right?
Wrong. Sure these examples are common among pregnant people, but the intensity, or even the presence, of these symptoms can, and most often do, diminish if under chiropractic care.
The nervous system controls all in your body. Under the direction of your body’s innate intelligence, the nervous system will adapt to the changes brought on by a growing new life inside of you. This new life you carry has its own innate intelligence that will do whatever it must to preserve the health and well being of itself. This will come at your expense, causing a number of deficiencies that your body will have no choice but to adapt to.
The presence of a spinal misalignment at the top of your neck will interfere with the nervous system’s ability to communicate back and forth with the body. The misalignment may result in one, two, or three of the following:
1.) Body Imbalance – a badly positioned C1 vertebra will tilt your head to one side. Your brain has a reflex called the righting reflex which keeps your eyes level with the horizon. This will cause your lower cervical spine to bend the opposite way of your head tilt. To compensate, your thoracic spine will bend the opposite way, then the opposite way in the lumbar spine, resulting in one side of your pelvis being drawn up and causing one leg to appear shorter than the other, as well as an uneven distribution of weight putting undue stress on the joints. An unevenly aligned pelvis during pregnancy can be incredibly painful, as well as problematic for the baby trying to get into a proper birthing position.
2.) Nerve Tension or Pressure – Because of these compensations traveling down your spine, the muscles on one or both sides of your spine will become very tight, and inflammatory effects will take place and escalate in regions of spinal misalignments. These changes will add stress to the nerves exiting your spinal column at some level, be it the nerve root or further along the distribution of the nerve. The nerves exiting your spine all lead to various parts of your body, including muscles, organs, glands, and blood vessels. Left alone, and over time, this nerve stress may lead to degeneration in these various body systems.
3.) Spinal Ligament Tension – A misalignment of your C1 vertebra may narrow the circumference of the spinal canal ever so slightly because of the way the C1 rocks in a slight clockwise or counterclockwise motion. This very slight narrowing results in tension of ligaments attaching the inside of the C1 to the outer protective layer of the spinal cord called the dura mater. The slightest misalignment of C1 can elicit some very serious discomfort and/or pain if left alone for any length of time.
Your body can only handle so much when everything is changing as rapidly and as often as it is during pregnancy. Add in a growing baby using up much of your body’s resources to survive and grow within you, and you can begin to see where spinal misalignments can wreak havoc on the health of a pregnant person.
The spinal compensations resulting from the misalignment may result in distorted pelvic positioning, causing the baby to get into an unfavorable position for birth, possibly breech. This unfavorable position could be adding increased pressure to your pelvic veins and vena cava (the large vein on the right side of your body carrying blood from the legs back up to the heart).
This pressure could slow down the flow of blood back up to the heart, causing the blood to pool in your legs. This may add to the swelling you might be experiencing in your ankles, as well as possibly contributing to the increased risk of preeclampsia in your last trimester.
The nerve pressure and tension caused by the spinal compensations in the spine may lead to improper signals to be sent to various organs and tissues. Pressure and tension on the nerves in your mid to upper thoracic spine may lead to shortness of breath. Considering how difficult it can be to catch your breath during pregnancy, you don’t need or want any help with that!
As you can see, a spinal misalignment is not a minor thing to ignore. Even the most seemingly insignificant of misalignments will always run some kind of interference to the overall structure and function of your body. This is never a good thing, and especially not when you are pregnant and your body needs the most help and the least interference.