We recently reached out to one of the chiropractors in our Allina Health system who treats pregnant moms and asked her about how a chiropractor can help moms prior to and after giving birth. This is what Dr. Rochelle Rougier-Maas, DC, at Allina Medical Clinic in Edina had to say:
What role can a chiropractor play in prenatal care for expecting moms? The role of a chiropractor in prenatal care is to establish pelvic balance and alignment, not only to reduce the mother/baby discomfort but also to allow the baby to be in the best position for delivery. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room for the developing baby to be comfortable and they may seek out a less than optimal positioning for birth. Our chiropractic training provides safe exercises, stretches and manipulation (adjustment) to the low back and pelvis to optimize alignment. “Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech and posterior presentations may be avoided altogether. Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.” Most expectant mothers state that they feel like they walk better because there is fluid motion in the hip joints (SI joints).
How can a chiropractor help during postnatal care? Often after birth, whether vaginally or via c-section, the mother’s pelvic biomechanics change – these changes can bring discomfort with walking, nursing and sleeping. We restore the pelvic balance with similar manipulation, exercises and stretches that were used in the prenatal care. It can also be beneficial to mobilize the thoracic region due to positions during breastfeeding, bottle feeding or simply rocking children. There is a tendency for new mothers to flex forward for long periods of time which can aggravate the mid back area. Carrying car seats with infants in them also alters biomechanics.
What should a woman consider before seeking care from a chiropractor? Consider insurance coverage and asking the chiropractor if they have worked with pregnant women and if they have tables to accommodate pregnancy.
Does the OB-GYN have to refer the expecting mom? Most insurance companies do not require OB or PCP referrals – it is always a good idea to call your plan before making the appointment just to make sure you have coverage.
What are some of the conditions you treat in expecting moms or moms who just had a baby? The most common conditions we treat are pregnancy-related sciatica or pelvic pain with walking, sitting and/or sleeping. We also treat middle back pain in postnatal mothers related to breast feeding, bottle feeding or simply rocking babies to sleep.
What do you like about working with expecting moms? For the two women in the group, we remember what it was like and love to see other women’s excitement about the upcoming new arrival! We enjoy seeing the pregnancies advance and the care that we provide support the mother through her journey.
How long have you worked at Allina Medical Clinic? Dr. Molly Magnani has been there the longest — 16 years — and I have been part of the system the shortest amount of time 12 years.