Mamatoga Magazine: The Fourth Trimester

First and foremost -- congratulations, mama!

 

This is a very exciting time for you and your family.  At times, I know it can seem a little overwhelming, so I am here to help!  My main goal is to give you the knowledge so that you can feel and function your best throughout your pregnancy and after.

During pregnancy, many women choose to utilize chiropractic care to help with common aches and pains that sometimes accompany pregnancy.  This is a great option since it is gentle, natural, and safe for mom and baby.  Since chiropractic works with the joints, muscles, and soft tissues that surround the pelvis, many pregnant women even report having easier and quicker births with the use of chiropractic.  Not only should chiropractic care be a part of your prenatal healthcare, but it should also be continued after the birth of your little one.  These aches and pains felt during pregnancy can often continue or even change after you give birth.  Why does this happen?  Shouldn’t the body go right back to where it was before you got pregnant?  The short answer to this is: no.  Here’s why…

As most of us know, there are 3 trimesters in pregnancy, but what most women don’t think about is the 4th trimester, also known as the postpartum period.  This is the period of time after pregnancy, where the body has to heal and reverse all of the effects of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the body slowly transitions as the belly grows.  Overtime as relaxin, one of the main pregnancy hormones, circulates through your body, your joints and ligaments become relaxed so the pelvis can make room for baby.  As your belly grows your posture changes, increasing the stress on the low back, upper back, and neck.  This is one of the main causes of pain during pregnancy. 

After you give birth, your body immediately loses at least 7 pounds, and most likely more between the baby and the placenta. Relaxin continues to remain in the body for about a year after birth, depending on the mom.  During this time, not only is your body trying to revert back to its pre-baby status, but it is also going through a stage of healing.  During this time, you must remember that your body has wounds on the inside that also need time to heal. After the birth of your baby, you are also placing different types of stress on your body. Some of these new stresses include; breastfeeding, holding your baby, carrying a car seat and diaper bag, pushing a stroller, changing diapers, and looking down at your cute new little babe.  During this time, there is usually a lack of sleep and maybe a little bit of emotional stress, and both of these can contribute to how your body feels overall.  So what can we do to help manage these new aches and pains?  Better yet, what can we do to help prevent these issues from arising?

One of the most important things you can do for yourself and for your new family is to find a support team before, during, and after pregnancy.  I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but to take care of your loved ones, especially your new baby, you must first take care of yourself.  Plus, you’re a new mom, there’s no shame in having a little help from time to time! 

The following is a list of professionals that should be a part of your support team:

 

1.   A chiropractor, massage therapist, and acupuncturist that specialize in the treatment of pregnant and postpartum women.

2.   An exercise class that is geared towards prenatal and postpartum fitness.

3.   A doula to support you throughout your pregnancy, fight for your planned birth experience, and to help you settle in to motherhood

4.   Talk with different midwives and obstetricians to find the one that is right for you.

5.   Birthing method instructor to give you options of different birthing techniques

6.   Lactation consultant to help with breastfeeding

7.   Find time to meditate or do yoga to reduce stress and be one with yourself and baby.

8.   Ensure that you and your baby are getting proper nutrition by seeking help from a nutritionist.

 

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone experiences pregnancy differently, and that healing happens at different rates for everyone.  The average time for postpartum healing is between 5 to 18 months.  So remember to stay positive, stay patient, listen to your body, and have your support system in place.  We are all here to help you enjoy your pregnancy, and to help you adjust and recover during the postpartum period.  Now go and enjoy this time with your precious new babe!

For more information about prenatal and postpartum chiropractic care, visit ICPA4Kids.org.

 

Check out this article and all the other great articles in Mamatoga Magazine!