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 thusly increasing the odds of vaginal delivery versus caesarean 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.