- Dr. Liz Homan
The Pregnant Body
It simply amazes me in the way that a woman’s body changes and adapts/responds to pregnancy! But with the changes that occur during pregnancy, there can be associated
warning signs that things are not adapting as well as they should be. Today I want to talk to you about the changes that are commonly seen and then what it may mean if there are discomforts during pregnancy.
One of the most noticeable changes that occur with pregnancy is that the belly grows allowing for room for baby. With this, a women’s posture is modified in response to the change in the center of gravity. Some specific changes happen to the spine when the center of gravity is shifted forward:
The shoulders are rounded forward which can lead to a loss of the neck curve potentially resulting in tight shoulders, neck pain and/or headaches
The lumbar curve increases which puts extra strain and force through the lumbar spinal joints potentially leading to low back pain, tingling down the legs or even digestive changes.
Gait is modified and becomes wider which creates variations in the pelvic joints which can aggravate the pelvic joints, the hip joints, the sciatic nerves and also the supporting uterine ligaments.
When the pelvis becomes misaligned this then alters the pelvic opening and can lead to intrauterine constraint and fetopelvic disproportion.
Beyond the noticeable changes in the belly growth, a women’s breast commonly increase in size to prepare for feeding their new baby. With this, there is additional strain and stress on the mid and upper back. This leads to doing activities with outstretched arms becoming very challenging and often times uncomfortable.
As the belly continues to get bigger and the baby gets more and more active, expansion of the lower rib cage is necessary. This expansion can be very aggravating to the mid back joints that connect to the ribs. You can also experience pain in the rib cage itself.
And through all of this, the body is releasing a hormone called Relaxin. Relaxain’s job is to loosen the joints to increase the mobility of the joints to allow for the pelvis to open so baby can go through the birth canal. But when it is present, it can also lead to reduced stability in the body because the ligaments are more relaxed. When this happens, joints that have had previous injuries can be aggravated and any imbalances in the pelvis are commonly amplified.
So, as you can see, the woman’s body is simply amazing as it goes through all of these changes and grows a baby! It really does adapt well because that is what it is designed to do!
But unfortunately, many women will experience pain or discomfort during pregnancy due to the joints in the body not being able to move properly due to a previous stress. This could be a stress from 20 years ago or something that happened recently. Either way, this stress causes a misalignment in the spine, also known as a subluxation. When subluxations are present, the body is not able to function as it was initially designed and this can then lead to more unease.
If you are currently pregnant and noticing that you are not comfortable while your body is shifting and changing, please let me know and I would love to share with you how chiropractic can potentially help alleviate these discomforts. This is done by balancing the body out as much as possible and restoring proper mobility to the joints in your pelvis and spine.
One final note, just because you are pregnant does not mean that you need to be uncomfortable! There are plenty of pregnant women who enjoy their entire pregnancy, and if it is possible for them, then it is also possible for you!