Fertility, Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery: How can Acupuncture and Chiropractic care help?—Kim Keene, D.C.
In the scientific literature, there are many studies which support the use of natural health care, including chiropractic care and acupuncture, for many health issues involving female fertility, pregnancy, labor, delivery, and post-partum care. Following is a brief introduction.
Acupuncture: Whether due to polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance, endometriosis, or other health issues, acupuncture has been shown to be effective in not only helping the underlying health problems, but also in improving circulation and nerve flow to the reproductive organs, and thus improving chances of conception, whether natural or through IVF. It also significantly reduces stress and anxiety, which is often a major factor in conception. Usually, a series of treatments are recommended prior to, during, and post-conception. Herbs may also be used, based on individual diagnosis. Often, an anti-inflammatory diet, weight loss, and other recommendations may be made as well.
Chiropractic: Chiropractic care involves examining the spine to determine if there are any misalignments which may affect different structures and neurological function in the body, including the nerves which go to the reproductive organs and the endocrine organs (see the chart.) So, for example, if there is a misalignment at L1 area, when this is corrected through adjustments, there will be normal neurological function to the reproductive organs. There are multiple case reports in the chiropractic literature in which women who were previously unable to conceive got pregnant and delivered healthy babies following chiropractic care.
Acupuncture: This could apply to surrogates as well as women who have conceived through IVF. There is evidence that acupuncture decreases the incidence of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies. Again, ensuring optimum circulation and nerve flow during pregnancy enhances the chances of having a healthy delivery and baby.
There are a number of conditions in which acupuncture is quite valuable, including nausea of pregnancy, heartburn, hypertension, back pain and sciatica, swelling of ankles, insomnia, and helping to turn breech babies. There are also points which can be used to help stimulate labor if a baby is overdue, and a number of other applications.
Chiropractic: I have specialized in helping pregnant women throughout my career. Chiropractic care during pregnancy has been shown to make for an easier pregnancy, labor and delivery. Lower back pain is common in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, and chiropractic adjustments help immensely. There are specific adjustments which can help to encourage breech babies to turn, which can be quite effective if instituted early enough. I utilize adjustments, soft tissue work, pregnancy lumbar supports if necessary, and other techniques to support a healthy pregnancy and delivery. I have been present at several births.
Acupuncture: If there has been a natural delivery, usually just check over mom to see if any complaints such as pain, breastfeeding issues, post-partum depression, etc., and address those as needed. If a C-section was required, we address post-surgical pain, nausea, etc.
Chiropractic: Mom and baby are both checked over as soon as possible. Baby is checked for any birth trauma which may cause misalignments in the spine. Mom’s pelvis and lower back are frequently out of alignment after delivery, and gentle adjustments are indicated.