At Dody Chiropractic in Littleton, CO we know that no other time in a woman’s life is the incredible adaptive capacity of the human body more obvious than during pregnancy. The changes in body chemistry and function that accompany pregnancy are absolutely amazing.
As pregnancy progresses, some of these changes can also compromise the integrity of the mother’s spine and nervous system.
- Progesterone decreases smooth muscle tone, which alters the blood supply as well as the integrity of all joints of the body.
- Estrogen relaxes the joint capsules allowing for more movement in the joints, including those of the pelvis. This “relaxation” effect is what allows the pelvis to open sufficiently to allow the head and shoulders of the baby to pass through, also supported by the hormone Relaxin.
- Weight gain and the increase in the lumbar curve are also responsible for added stress on the mother’s spine as a unit and thus her nervous system.
- Different types of pelvis shapes can also exert different stresses during pregnancy.
- Other influences will also be number of pregnancies, status of the pelvic muscles, levels of exercise, and past trauma to the pelvis or coccyx.
- More pregnancies can often mean more susceptibility. With each successive pregnancy the pelvic muscles and ligaments become more stretched and pre-dispose the pelvis to misalignment but in the same vain, they are also easier misalignments to correct.
- Misalignments of the pelvis can occur in 3 separate places. Each Sacro-Iliac joint and the symphysis pubis joint, which all occur readily in pregnancy. Misalignments can cause stress and weakness to the supporting structures of the pelvis.
Proper Pelvic Alignment is of utmost importance during pregnancy since the uterus attaches directly to the pelvis by the way of various ligaments.
Of most importance are:
The Round Ligaments – extend from the side of the uterus and attach into the labia and are affected by the alignment of the pubic bones. Prevent the uterus from moving posterior (backwards). During pregnancy the round ligaments undergo an increase in both size and diameter. Uneven tension will result in increased rotational tension leading to further off-center positioning of the uterus.
The Uterosacral Ligaments – gatherings of pelvis fascia connecting the cervix to the anterior (front) portion of the sacrum at S2 & S3 level. (Uterus to Sacrum as the name infers). Prevents the uterus from displacing forwards and downwards. A posterior rotated sacrum may result in torsion of the utero-sacral ligament contributing to imbalance in the uterus leading to intrauterine constraint.