Guest Blogger Dr. Satya Sardonicus
Every so often I like to feature another birth professional I have had the opportunity to collaborate with to be a guest blogger. This is write by Dr. Satya Sardonicus. Satya is a teacher, clinician, coach, and professional speaker, and the founder of The Chrysalis Studio in Portland, Oregon, where she specializes in sensory processing, chronic stress, and trauma. You can contact her going to her website at chrysalispdx.com
Changes in Spinal + Pelvic Alignment During Pregnancy Can Impact Labor + Delivery
During pregnancy, body mechanics change relatively quickly to adaptively support baby’s growth. This means increased pressure on joints, ligament tension around the inside of the pelvis, and increasing changes in center of gravity. These rapid changes are often a source of significant stress to the spine and pelvis as the body tries to keep up.
What is the impact of this added stress?
While these changes are of course necessary to adapt to pregnancy, they can sometimes aggravate old mechanical problems as well as create new ones. Being aware of changes in the pelvis particularly, is significant because malpositioning of the pelvis can create issue during late pregnancy and birth. If there is torsion in the way the pelvis is aligned, the womb can become constricted and put unwanted pressure on the baby. Malpositioning of the pelvis also makes it harder for the baby to descend through the birth canal because it makes the opening that the baby needs to come out of become functionally smaller.
Interference to the Nervous System
These mechanical changes in the spine and pelvis also often result in interference in the signaling along nerves passing through that area. Interference with nerve signaling means the brain will be less able to coordinate normal functions (think of static on the line during a phone call; part of the messages get garbled and you often end up missing parts). While this is of course relevant throughout pregnancy, it’s of particular significance around labor and delivery. Interference with nerve signaling to the cervix, for example, could cause spasm in that muscle and therefore failure to dilate. Interference with nerve signaling to the uterine wall muscle could interfere with the coordination of muscle contractions necessary to efficiently birth the baby.
Elevating a Stress Response
Stuck or otherwise distorted mechanics also send alarm signals to the brain, “Help! Something is wrong here!” which triggers a system-wide stress response that will be perpetuated until the sticky places start moving better again. Chronically elevating a stress response in the brain will have a myriad of affects, including but not limited to: predisposition to depression and anxiety, difficulty sleeping, mental fog, and suppressed pathways for connection and bonding.
These structural and neurological considerations are often overlooked in perinatal care. However, more and more pregnant women are working with chiropractors to ensure proper alignment and smooth motion in the spine and pelvis, and an increasing number of birth professionals are including chiropractors in their team recommendations for expectant mothers. Research shows that by including therapeutics that encourage more fluid and balanced biomechanics helps women experience easier and more comfortable pregnancy, with one study reporting that 94.1% of the pregnant women included showed clinical improvement in their low back pain after receiving Chiropractic care. Chiropractic adjustments also restore proper signaling in the nervous system and can significantly shorten labor + delivery times, with studies showing that first time moms who get adjusted throughout their pregnancy experience 25% shorter labor times, and non-first time moms report 31% shorter labor times. To find a Chiropractor in your area who has received additional training in prenatal care, visit www.icpa4kids.org
Satya Sardonicus, DC, CACCP
Champion of Human Potential
Photo credit to Miguel Aguilar