Pregnancy…I have done this before…twice actually! So when I found out I was pregnant with baby boy #3 I figured I would go through the natural trend of trimesters…sick and tired, then full of energy and then a bit uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that did not happen. This time around I have been suffering from something called SPD or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction which has been causing me huge amounts of pain. So much pain in fact that I have been prescribed pain medication, muscle relaxers and even Tramadol (a class C drug during pregnancy that has a risk of infant death). My OB is doing everything protocol so please don’t gasp in horror. The risks apparently outweigh the negatives but being a person that always seeks out alternatives before ingesting medication, I did my research on alternative pain management during pregnancy before going that route. In this post I will share with you what worked for me and how I came to understand why I was in pain.
What is SPD – A woman’s pelvis, pubic bone and tailbone are all connected by ligaments that naturally relax (usually at a slow pace) during pregnancy. With SPD these ligaments relax so much at once that it causes bones to move which in turn causes excruciating pain. This pain can lead to needing a cane, wheel chair or bed rest. This is not ideal for any Mom that has children at home to take care of.
Webster Technique Chiropractic:
I have always seen a chiropractor weekly but once my SPD set in, I started seeing a Webster Technique Chiropractor 3 times a week to help align my pelvis. I personally see Dr. Denisa Weber at Serving Life Chiropractic and have seen some great results. The Webster technique is a specific sacral adjustment to help facilitate the pelvic alignment and nerve system function. The hope is that this balances pelvic muscles and ligaments, reduces torsion to the uterus and offers a greater potential for optimal fetal positioning which in turn should reduce or resolve pregnancy discomforts. These adjustments can also help the baby to fit the brim better to engage in time to help stimulate cervical ripening and makes the pelvis more flexible so that pelvic joints move more easily in labor. Since increasing my treatments to 3 times a week my chiropractor has stabilized the ligaments and gotten me walking upright again without a limp and very little pain. The reason for 3 times a week is because my ligaments are so relaxed that they really want to go back to their relaxed position and the constant muscle reminder is helping them realize where they need to be. We are still working on perfect positioning of my baby but little by little the baby is moving as I create more space for him to move freely in my uterus.
Webster Technique Chiropractors in Dallas:
Mayofacial Release and CranioSacral Therapy:
Once my doula heard what kind of pain I was in and knowing that I had a C-section my first time around and had a very long (22 hours long to be exact…with back labor) all natural VBAC with my second, she immediately recommended that I contact John James at the C-Section Recovery Center in Plano. I met with John and he explained to me the connection between the “bikini cut” and the negative effects it can have throughout my body causing chronic pain as well as suboptimal positioning for the baby. Apparently a C-section not only severs muscles but it also cuts through fascia, lymph vessels and nerve pathways and creates patches of scar tissue. What John and his partner Lauren do is break up that scar tissue and create free flow of fluid in your body through Myofacial Release and Craniosacral Therapy that creates a well shaped uterus for prime positioning. The position of my baby was causing a great deal of my pain so breaking up the scar tissue and giving the baby more room to move around freed me a lot of the pain. I have been seeing them 2 times a week and this coupled with the Chiropractic treatment has really saved me. I can be a Mom again!
Myofacial Release – Myo means muscle and fascia is the leathery coating covering the muscles and bones of our body. This technique helps relax parts of our body that we can not relax with deep breathing or rest and when combined with Webster Technique Chiropractic it solves many discomforts. The reason being is because a Chiropractor can adjust your joints, but if the fascia is constricted or bunched up, it will pull the bones back out of place again.
Craniosacral Therapy – is a gentle, non-invasive and powerful hands-on therapy that benefits the whole body. It is especially good for pregnant woman because it focuses on releasing restrictions in the pelvis to resolve back and hip pain and tension in order for the body to prepare for labor and birth.
My OB prescribed physical therapy and at Baylor they offer pre-natal specific therapy, which I highly recommend. I started going 2 times a week and practicing the strengthening techniques at home 1 time a day and I feel much stronger after doing this. I am not one to really think about my core much in my third trimester but apparently it is incredibly important because it’s what supports your pelvis and the general weight that the baby is putting on the pelvic muscles and ligaments. We concentrated on strengthening my posture, pelvic floor, inner thigh and core muscles so I could train my body to naturally contract those muscles when doing big movements. Not only will this help with pain management during pregnancy, but should also ultimately help me during labor, birth and even postpartum recovery.
In today’s society we sit in chairs and cars for far too long, we cross our legs and all of these small things change the shape of our uterus. Spinning Babies is about creating more space for the baby through exercises and unique techniques to hopefully make for an easier and shorter birth process while helping with pain management. The goal with spinning babies was to free up space in my uterus to create optimal positioning before labor ensues and hopefully cut my labor time in half. On their website there is a video that you can purchase for $14.99 that gives detailed instructions on how to do this. I found it very helpful seeing it done and not just reading about it. I highly recommend this if you are dealing with ligament, hip or pelvis pain and/or have a baby in a suboptimal position and desire a vaginal birth with a shorter labor time.
This sounds like a lot…and it kind of is. But the pain I was dealing with was excruciating and I can say that all of these things have made the end of my third pregnancy much more enjoyable. While I am grateful for modern Western medicine and do believe it has a time and a place, I was not ready to resort to all sorts of medication that have potentially scary side effects while pregnant. I am so thankful for the power of research and the interesting alternative techniques that exist and are available in Dallas. If you are dealing with SPD, breech baby, or just general pain during pregnancy I hope that this post gives you some hope that you don’t have to sit and suffer. You can get to the root of the issue and not just dull the pain with meds.