Chiropractic takes on an emphasized role while recovering from childbirth.
Congratulations! We get it. We’ve been there. And we can help.
The postpartum period isn’t easy. Our bodies just don’t work the way they used to and after babies our core just isn’t the same. That’s ok! You shouldn’t be the same. You have created and given birth to a child. You will now and forever be postpartum! Let’s experience it in a functional, pain free way.
Postpartum provides a unique opportunity for your body and the dysfunctions it has created, even those prior to pregnancy, to be corrected. Much like a restart button on your computer, childbirth offers you the opportunity to reset the way your body moves, to create a new foundation (core) and correct faulty movement patterns.
During pregnancy you experience so many changes to your body. Your core shuts off. Your ab muscles are stretched and at a length where they no longer function optimally. Your hips flexors engage and tighten up, even more than they already were, to act as your stability. Organs and structures are shoved into any and all free space available to make room for the baby. Your diaphragm is jammed up under your rib cage.
During labour and delivery, your pelvic floor experiences a sprain/strain, much like you would when you sprain your ankle. Of note, even if you have had a C-section the stress and strain your pelvic floor has experienced throughout pregnancy can lead to pelvic floor issues postpartum. There is a sudden change of gravity and the fake stability you have gotten used to from the tight skin of your belly is no longer there. You are completely unstable!
Postpartum is a physiologically challenging time. Unlike pregnancy, when the body changes gradually over 9 months, the postpartum period is a time of rapid change. Even the most straight forward vaginal births can be tough on both mom and babe. This can all lead to conditions commonly diagnosed in the postpartum period such as:
Whatever the diagnosis it all comes back to your core and challenges your body has experienced during pregnancy, childbirth and now postpartum.
It doesn’t take much convincing that after delivering a baby your body could use some love. Your body is considered postpartum from a biomechanical perspective for 1 full year. Recently there have even been functional movement experts that have pushed the postpartum phase to 2 years based on the amount of time required to restore proper core function. Whether your child is 2 weeks or 20 years old, once postpartum, always postpartum. We are here to help you create a functional core, regain stability and energy and thrive in motherhood. The sooner you can start the better. We recommend you receive a postpartum chiropractic assessment as early at 2 weeks postpartum.
Remember, be kind and gentle to yourself. Your body has just experienced more changes than you can imagine. How you recover is unique to you and unique to this pregnancy.
Chiropractic adjustments are simple, yet powerful. Dr. Lindsay & Dr. Amy perform each adjustment in a way that is unique to you, your condition and your comfort level. The techniques used range from low force (without a sound being produced), instrument/table assisted and a gentle manual style.
Our core takes on a whole new meaning during pregnancy! But what about after the baby is born? Do the changes change back? Not without a little help and understanding. Core dysfunctions can show up as everything! Here are some of the most common dysfunctions.
Chiropractic can help! We can help.
Whether you have worked with us before or you have just started care, you will soon realize that our focus is on regaining your body’s proper function. Whether you have been diagnosed with sciatica, diastasis recti or carpal tunnel syndrome that is simply a label, a name given to what hurts or what has been injured and that does not dictate our roadmap. Why it became injured is always a whole body problem. We approach your body as a whole with special interest given to your spinal joints, your movement patterns and your core function. It is in our experience that once we get your body into balance than whatever your diagnosis, your label, your symptom(s), your body’s need to get your attention, will disappear.
Your body knows how to recover from childbirth.
Your pelvis is made up of 3 joints (left and right sacroiliac joints and symphysis pubis). These 3 joints need to work together. Proper pelvic joint motion is an important part of labour and delivery. With the decent of baby, stress is placed on these joints. Sometimes the stress can be too much and the symphysis pubis is overloaded, especially if a mom goes into labour and delivery without a balanced pelvis. This can cause postpartum SPD and can affect moms to varying degrees.
Much like a pregnant mom experiencing SPD, postpartum moms experience similar discomfort. Typically any activity that involves lifting one leg at a time or parting the legs tends to be particularly painful. Lifting the leg to put on clothes, getting out of a car, bending over, sitting down or getting up, walking up stairs, standing on one leg, lifting heavy objects, and walking in general tend to be difficult at times. Many women report that moving or turning over in bed is especially difficult.
Chiropractic can help! Many times your sacroiliac (SI) joints become restricted and don’t move as well as they should. This places extra stress and strain on your symphysis pubis and results in pain and dysfunction. Chiropractic adjustments will restore proper movement of your pelvic joints. This takes stress off your symphysis pubis and allows it to recover. If the symphysis pubis is restricted, adjustments can be made to that joint as well.
Pregnancy and the challenges childbirth places on the pelvic floor can create postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction. And whether you experienced a vaginal delivery or caesarean, you may end up with pelvic floor dysfunction.
Pelvic floor dysfunction occurs when there is either too much tension on the pelvic floor muscles (high tone) or not enough (low tone). Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that receive its contract/relax messages from your spine and pelvis. Does spinal alignment play a role in your pelvic floor health? Yes! Yes! Yes! The function of your nervous system is an important contributor to pelvic floor function or dysfunction.
We have watched all sorts of pelvic floor dysfunctions (urgency, bladder and/or bowel incontinence, pain, coccyx pain, constipation, and prolapse to name a few) improve with chiropractic adjustments. We highly recommend chiropractic as part of your pelvic health team.
Diastasis Recti is the term used when your core muscles, specifically your rectus abdominus, separate. It sounds uncomfortable! But you’ve got some connective tissue (the linea alba) holding the 2 sides of muscle together. It can stretch and thin out.
Postpartum women have a higher risk of separation because of the increased intra-abdominal pressure created by the growing baby in pregnancy. But let’s get one thing straight, all pregnant women will experience some degree of stretch or separation. We have to or our bodies would not be able to carry a child. The more dysfunctional your core is, the more likely diastasis recti can happen.
In the last decade many studies regarding pregnancy and diastasis recti have been published. In postpartum moms, the ‘inter-recti’ distance (the space between the left and right sides) of the rectus abdominus muscle decreases markedly on its own from day 1 to week 8 after pregnancy. However, if there is a gap after 8 weeks and no interventions are done to help it, the gap will remain unchanged at 1 year postpartum.
Diastasis recti doesn’t just hang out on its own, other core dysfunctions tag along like urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence and/or pelvic organ prolapse, again letting us know that the split is just a split and we have a dysfunctional core. Our core is built like a cylinder. It is synergistic in nature, meaning that all the parts must work together in order to serve its purpose.
Much of our core is muscle. Here’s what we know about muscles. They are dumb! All of them! They are told what to do from your nervous system. They don't contract unless your nervous system tells them to. The nerve supply to your core includes nerves from all parts of your spine (neck, mid-back, low back and pelvis)
So, does your nervous system play a role in a functional core? Absolutely. If these spinal joints are not moving correctly and there is nervous system interference will it play a role in a dysfunctional core? Most definitely. So while exercises are important, your spine must be moving properly. The nerve supply to these muscles must be free of interference. Chiropractic can help!
Many times it is a pregnant woman under care for something else who notices a decrease in headaches after being adjusted. The headache where she would normally take a pill but is now reluctant because she is pregnant, disappears with chiropractic care. Starting chiropractic care for headaches is common for everyone and many have experienced an improvement with intensity, frequency and duration of their headaches since beginning care, this includes pregnant moms. Chiropractic can help!
And many of the tips given to help with rib pain, CTS and TOS can also help headaches. Proper posture is so important!