So many things change during pregnancy. I remember watching my wife during her first pregnancy. It was quite the experience – it seemed to go really fast when I think back to it (maybe not so much for her).
It seems like just yesterday we were driving around to Toys’ R Us, trips to Home Depot and the baby show. ‘Getting Ready for baby’.
[Side note: By all means I can only empathize with the intensity of the work involved – because let’s face it – she did all the work. I just supported her during the process. ]
Now, when you stop and think for a moment… It really is the most impressive process one’s body can carry out.
I mean if someone has a cut, they heal. If someone has a virus – they mount an immune response and fight off the foreign invader. When a woman becomes pregnant – she starts to make a new life. (There’s no magic potion or lotion that creates baby – only mom’s body)
So consider these 3 things when you’re looking after yourself during pregnancy…
1 – Growth and Optimal Development
Stress hormones are constantly changing. Mom’s constantly assessing the environment – doing what she needs to look after baby and herself. If cortisol (stress hormone) is consistently high it can be a negative for mom and baby. (regardless of whether or not mom “feels stressed” – her body still has to process different responses to different situations).
Now consider a shifted spine… it can actually have an impact on these stress hormones. Changing your physiology negatively. Now, I am sure you might be thinking what in the world does my spine have to do with baby’s development?
Here’s the thing to remember…your body has a master control system (the brain) which sends it’s messages to and from the brain through the spinal cord. If these messages are impaired in any way it can be a negative for our nerve system and overall physiology. This can impact us in ways we feel but also in ways we may have no idea about. A shifted spine may actually have a negative impact on optimal growth/development if cortisol is constantly elevated.
2 – Comfort. With some of the following things happening during pregnancy it’s no wonder you may experience (back) pain:
- shifting in your centre of gravity (changes in weight distribution)
- stretching of ligaments
- more joint laxity because of changes in hormones
(The above are all reasons why your spine may shift.)
Remember, that better function of the spine and nerve system can actually help with your pain perception and how you deal with pain.
Helping to correct any spinal imbalances can help with your perception of where you are in your environment – improving your balance (possibly even lessening the risk of falls) as mom grows baby and your centre of gravity changes.
You also want all muscles to activate properly – so that muscles can take care of you as your joints begin to get more laxity in them (important!). A good nerve supply can help with muscles working better. Muscles that work better can actually help to pick up the slack for ligaments that are becoming more lax.
3 – Motion (Nourishment) for your Brain & Spine
For your baby: Remember, in the first month baby begins to develop it’s nervous system (it’s actually one of the first systems to develop) in utero. From ages 0 to 2 a little person will add up to 60% of it’s nervous system in weight. That’s a lot of development – I’m sure you can guess when the most important time to have your spine and nerve system checked is? (the first two years of life!). The second most critical time? During pregnancy.
For you as mom:
So why is motion so critical?
Your spine is like an engine for your brain. Helping to drive normal processes. Moving your body (and spine) gives nourishment to your brain. Your brain is actively engaging and controlling all kinds of processes in your body.
What can you do on your own to help this process? Walk, move, exercise regularly as your brain needs nourishment in the form of movement.
What happens when your spine is shifted (and stuck)? It can be sending poor information in the communication channels (nerves) between your brain and tissues. This is exactly why one would visit a Neuro-Structural Family Chiropractor especially during pregnancy. The nervous system helps with the messages for growth and development – this is the very process we would want to support during pregnancy.
The next time you are curious as to why your Neuro-Structural health is so important – begin to consider these amazing changes that are happening in mom when she is pregnant and why it’s so critical to help support the process we call pregnancy.
I know I’m thankful my wife was able to see a Family Chiropractor throughout her pregnancy – I feel it made a difference for her overall “ease” during this important phase in our lives – leading to an easier and healthier pregnancy.
If you have any questions – let me know?