Chiropractic has an irrefutable role in the management of pregnancy. Expecting parents tend to read books about what to expect once the baby arrives, but few truly prepare themselves about the birth. They rely on their obstetrician to give them the information they need.

Obstetricians are surgical specialists, and their conversations with parents tend to be about the possibility of risks and pain, instilling fear in the parents and therefore ensuring the need for medical intervention. It has been shown that the less medical intervention the less risks and the less pain the mother and baby experience. Women become programmed to fear childbirth and are not empowered to rely on and trust their own instinctive abilities.

A chiropractor trained in the care and management of pregnant women educate women with information about how wonderful and ecstatic an experience the birthing process can be and encourage women to understand just how intuitively capable they are to give birth.

Three areas of pregnancy chiropractic addresses are:

The production and distribution of hormones

Pelvic & spinal alignment & position of baby for delivery

A reduction in the need for intervention

The Production and Distribution of Hormones in Pregnancy

The progression of pregnancy is controlled by the orchestration of hormones. The right hormone, at the right time, in the right amount allows a normal progression throughout pregnancy. The wrong hormone, at the wrong time, in an inappropriate amount can be the cause of a variety of problems. It is the nervous system that controls and coordinates the proper production and distribution of these hormones. Chiropractic adjustments relieve the nervous system of interference allowing it to effectively and efficiently communicate within the body to produce and distribute the right hormone, at just the right time, in the right amount.

Spinal and Pelvic Alignment In Pregnancy

One of the most common spinal problems in pregnant women is misalignment of the pelvis including the pubic bone. Pelvic misalignment causes changes in ligaments and muscles that support the uterus. It is the tension of these ligaments and muscles and their constricting effect on the uterus which prevents a baby from assuming a vertex or head down position for birth. A very specific adjusting technique was developed by a chiropractor Dr. Larry Webster, that reduces or eliminates uterine constraint due to pelvic misalignment. It is referred to as the Webster Technique or Webster Protocol. Adjusting the pelvis and using nerve reflex points the Webster Protocol relaxes the round ligament that stabilizes the uterus from its connection on the pubic bone thus allowing the baby the freedom to take the optimal head down position for birth.

Reduction in the Need For Intervention at Delivery

Birthing interventions such as; episiotomies, epidurals, spinal blocks and C- sections are seldom in the best interest of the mother or baby but often in the best interest of the caregiver or the professional assisting the birth. When the mother's body is prepared and not rushed or delayed and she is awake and alert she can participate in the complex dance of contractions and relaxation. When the brain is able to communicate through a healthyand clear nervous system it coordinates the actions of muscles and hormones allowing changes in tissues as the birth progresses and seldom is an episiotomy necessary.

The drugs used in epidurals are powerful enough to numb and often paralyze the mother's lower body. The epidural and spinal block drugs do pass to the fetus and cause a number of concerns including a change in fetal heart rate resulting in distress and more intervention. Numb pelvic floor muscles can't guide a baby through the birth canal and often create the need for forceps and vacuum extraction.

Epidural-an injection of a local anesthesia into the space outside of the sheath around the spinal cord numbing sensation nerves and motor nerves as they exit the spinal cord.

Spinal Block- involves the injection of anesthesia directly into the fluid inside the layers of the protective sheaths that surround the spinal cord.

Only a few years ago C-section was considered a risky surgery reserved only for use when it was a matter of saving the baby or mother. Today it has become a birth option as if no risk is involved for mother or baby. Unfortunately many cities in the U.S. have a C-section rate over 50%. Replacing a major surgery for a nature body process does not come without a cascade of complications, problems and the loss of a positive and bonding experience for the mother.

To learn more about birth options, choices and experiences I suggest reading:

The Thinking Women's Guide to a Better Birth
By Henci Goer

Gentle Birth Choices
By Barbara Harper RN

Birthing From Within
By Pam England

Author's Bio: 

Dr Cynthia Horner is a family chiropractor specializing in pregnancy and pediatric chiropractic and a well known author.