Avoiding a Laborious Labor: Structural Chiropractic and Pelvic Floor Control
For as long as women have been having babies, they have searched for ways to reduce pain and encourage natural vaginal delivery. Many methods have been used to achieve a safe and enjoyable birthing process, some successful and some not. Medications, breathing exercises and meditation are just a few examples, but one that is beginning to become more recognized is chiropractic care. Lately there has been more research done on the positive effects of chiropractic adjustment during pregnancy as a way to improve the experience. Last year Drs. Heidi Haavik, Jenny Kruger and Professor Bernadette Murphy published the results of their study on chiropractic adjustments and pelvic floor muscle function in 2016.
The study results successfully showed that providing chiropractic adjustments for pregnant patients leads to relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles, which has long been thought to aid in natural vaginal delivery.
*A surprising secondary finding of the study is that the non-pregnant test subjects experienced the ability to contract their pelvic floor muscles at a rate much higher than the average patient, following the adjustment.
Real Life Application
During childbirth, the muscles of the pelvic floor relax and contract to help move the baby through the birth canal. By relaxing the pelvic floor muscles via chiropractic adjustment, the actual birth canal becomes larger, helping to provide the baby with an unimpeded pathway to delivery and increasing the odds of vaginal delivery versus Cesarean section. Furthermore, findings from the second (non-pregnant) study group suggest that increased pelvic floor muscle strength and control could play a vital role in preventing future pelvic floor dysfunction such as stress urinary incontinence.
The results of this study will require further research to corroborate and support the findings. That said, the preliminary evidence suggests that chiropractic care for women during pregnancy gives them a greater ability to relax the pelvic floor and will likely continue to be used as yet another tool in creating a safer, more comfortable birthing experience.
A structural chiropractic adjustment, serves to reduce dysfunction of the nervous system. Allowing your master control system to function as it should, it is better able to coordinate and control your musculature, including those within the pelvic floor. In short, optimal spinal structure, leads to optimal nervous system function. We’re here to not only help you feel better, but also function at your very best!