In Chinese culture, 2017 is the year of the “Fire Rooster.” Interesting zodiac fact: Martin Luther King is one of the famous fire roosters. I don’t prescribe astrology or read zodiac signs, but I agree the start of 2017 has been fiery. Despite the outcome of the election, my narrow lens tells me that it’s the year of the woman.
There have been women’s marches, a crescendo of women entrepreneurs, and overall, women are banding together in an effort to empower one another. Women are more versatile than ever before and in some cases redefining what it means to be a mother. I watch my own wife operate a private practice (psychotherapy), perform therapist-led postpartum support circles, cherish our son, mind her physical and mental health, and manage to be an upstanding citizen (little bias here).
While my wife sees a variety of clients, she is carving out a niche around perinatal mental health. I find this interesting and relevant for my own profession. A chiropractor can be a pregnant woman’s best friend as she learns to cope with her changing body.
Pregnancy is made up of several stages prenatal, perinatal and postnatal. All of the stages come with different influences, changes and adjustments.
· Fluctuations in weight
· Changes to postural neurology
· Fluctuations in energy levels
· Joint restrictions (neck, back, shoulders, pelvis, hip, ankles)
· Muscle imbalance(s)
· Muscle inhibition and activation
· Subpar movement patterns
· Added stress to low back, sacrum, pelvis and other joints.
· Emotional and physical trauma
· New physical demands
Four ways to prepare for birth:
1. Invest in a few personal training classes and focus on perfecting basic exercises. There are trainers who have experience with expecting mothers. They can help pinpoint problems with stability and functional strength. This will also prepare you for the rigors of childcare. All too often holding the baby, nursing, and changing for the umpteenth time can lead new mothers to postural dysfunction. Picture the neck stretched out, shoulders up into the ears and rolled forward. This is not the body language of health, grace, and poise that women embody.
2. Review your current eating habits and commit to eating one additional serving of plants per day (fruits, vegetables, greens)
3. Mentally prepare and develop your own mantra (women deal with a lot of fear during this time). Some will tell you that fear has two meanings:
a. Forget everything and run
b. Face everything and rise
4. Have a chiropractic consultation to help maintain a healthier pregnancy. Chiropractors can address pain associated with a protruding abdomen and spinal stress, pelvic changes, and postural adaptations. A misaligned pelvis may make it difficult to enable the baby to be in the best possible position for delivery. Joella Pettigrew, chiropractor and licensed midwife, has this to say about different goals of chiropractic in pregnancy.
“These goals include alleviating pain and discomforts for a happier and more comfortable pregnancy, maximizing function of the pelvic joints allowing greater movement during pregnancy and opening during labor, encouraging optimal nerve function for coordinated and effective labor function and balancing pelvic bones and soft tissue structures to encourage optimal fetal positioning, thereby increasing optimal birth outcomes.”