In our lifetime there is nothing more exciting and life changing than being pregnant and welcoming a new born into this world. Along with pregnancy arrive a host of changes within the mother from both an internal and external perspective. At this time we must do our utmost to make sure that the mother's health is at its best to allow her body to successfully carry and birth the child to be.

A major part in maintaining the mother in an optimal health state is the proper care of her frame. The physiological changes that occur in a woman during the weeks of pregnancy exert a significant strain on her frame and create a state of dysfunction and discomfort that may affect both the health of the mother and the child. Chiropractic care is safe and successful in caring for the expecting mother during this critical time to effectively treat the stresses exerted on the musculoskeletal system during pregnancy.

Structural Changes During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time for body change and these changes often cause neuromuscular and biomechanical issues for the expecting mother. These changes include:

• Significant increase in the hormone relaxin which increases the ability of the connective tissues of the body to stretch during the birthing process. Secondarily the hormone causes the ligaments and tendons of the body to also relax and as such, causes joints to be more flexible and more readily misaligned

• Increase weight gain which in turn puts greater stress and irritation on the joints of the body which are already being affected by the hormone relaxin.

• Change in the mother's centre of gravity as a result of weight gain/distribution. As the mother's belly grows the lower back spinal curvature has to increase to balance the gain.

This compensation adds increase compressional stress on the joints of the lower back/pelvic regions and causes contraction of the spinal/pelvic muscles in those areas.

The above-noted structural changes lead to significant pain and discomfort affecting the mother's daily functional ability as well as predisposing the mother to having a more difficult delivery.

Keeping the Mother's Frame Healthy
Chiropractic treatment specifically tailored for the expecting mother is extremely beneficial in alleviating the symptoms arising from the physical changes of pregnancy as well as being helpful in preparing the mother for a successful delivery. Treatment should focus on the mother as a whole ensuring all aspects of her well being are addressed. This focus on the mother should include:

• Gentle spinal and pelvic adjustments focussing on freeing the joints that are misaligned or irritated allowing enhanced range of motion, decreased pain and tension in the affected areas.

• Soft tissue therapy, specifically massage and passive stretching. directed at reducing the tension in the overly contracted paraspinal and pelvic musculature

• A home prescribed active stretching and exercise regimen to keep the mother healthy and fit

• Postural education to reduce the effects of the weight gain and abnormal distribution on the mother's body

• Nutritional and dietary supplementations to ensure that the health of both the mother and the new baby is kept at optimal levels to best handle the stresses of the pregnancy process.

Research and our past clinical experience has clearly demonstrated that the healthier and more functional we can keep the mother while she carries her newborn leads to the most positive outcomes with regards maintaining the pregnancy, reducing the need for pain meds during the birthing process, shortening the labor time, and overall making the pregnancy, delivery and recovery a more pleasant experience for the mother.