Purpose of Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy
The Mother-Child Connection
Stress and Pregnancy
Few women have the luxury of simplifying their lives in pregnancy. Hectic schedules, business as usual, family and social needs do not lessen during this important time. Our nervous systems remain in what’s become the normalized fight-or-flight pattern of modern living.
Research shows that these emotional states directly affect an unborn child’s developing nervous system. If the mother is in a state of sympathetic overdrive, her baby’s nervous system is being primed to be over-reactive as well. Many studies correlate a pregnant mother’s stress, anxiety, and depression to the probability of her child having emotional problems, ADHD, conduct disorder, and impaired cognitive development.
Our culture doesn’t support pregnancy as a time for women to retreat from these stresses, so it is up to us individually to take charge of our own health and our children’s future well-being.
Improving Quality of Life
Extensive research is showing the importance of the vagus nerve in building resilience in our system’s response to stress. One of many functions directly related to this nerve is regulating our fight-or-flight response by slowing down the heart rate. When the vagus nerve is not functioning correctly, stress is harder to manage, and the fight-orflight response becomes dominant.
Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to positively affect heart rate variability. Data collected on pregnant women under chiropractic care showed that women’s emotional well-being and quality of life improved. In pregnancy, adjustments provide a double value. As a mother strengthens her resilience in handling the stress response, her nervous system functions in a greater state of ease. This directly affects the baby’s developing nervous system as well.
In addition to the many known physical benefits, chiropractic adjustments throughout pregnancy allow a mother to function in a state of greater emotional, mental, and social well-being.
The goal of all birth providers is a safer, easier birth for both the mother and her baby. As more mothers benefit from the special care offered by ICPA doctors of chiropractic, more providers are recommending mothers seek out chiropractic care for an improved pregnancy experience and desired birth outcome.
As more women are seeking the benefits of chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, more healthcare providers are seeking trained doctors of chiropractic in their communities to refer their pregnant patients to.
Discuss these options with your healthcare provider. If they are not yet familiar with chiropractic care in pregnancy, ask them to find out more about its many benefits.
Most importantly, seek options that support your body’s natural abilities to function and find a team of providers who are respectful of your choices.
— American Pregnancy Association
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #59.
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