I’ve noticed the pregnancy with scoliosis cases are some of my best patients. It’s a challenge for the mom for sure- baby is pushing unevenly on the ribs, the back hurts more because of the uneven loading. My job is to help her body function the best it can during the pregnancy and labor, but the real opportunity is postpartum when the hormone relaxin is still in the system. Relaxin allows the ligaments to be a little more flexible for the birth, but it presents an opportunity to do a little spinal remodeling. From our experience we actually will see an improvement in posture when we compare 2nd trimester photos to 90 days postpartum. I had a special case a couple years ago that I submitted for publication.
Last week the Journal of Pediatric Maternal & Family Health- Chiropractic published my 6th case report featuring a complicated pregnancy case. K. came in having been told she shouldn’t get pregnant because it would be too much stress on the steel rods she’d had inserted to help her scoliosis. This mom had gone through great lengths to keep her body in good shape. She was a regular yoga practitioner and had a lot of faith in her own body. When K. found out she and her husband were expecting, this mom-to-be told me she knew keeping her body balanced was the only hope she’d have of a natural labor. Neck and shoulder pain may have brought her to the office, but the desire for her body to work the best it could was what kept K. coming in.
I adjusted this mother over a 5 month period, and we both learned a lot in the process. First, as a provider I learned I had to be flexible. As K’s belly grew it became harder and harder for her to lay on her back. This was a challenge because part of the Webster Technique involves the mom laying belly-up so we can release any tension we find in the round ligaments. We figured out some of the adjustments could be done with the mom laying on her side, and others we could move the pieces of the table so K. could lay down like she was in a recliner.
K. had a tough time during labor. The final stage required her to lay on her back and push through transition, and the pressure strained the back portion of her pelvis. We have our moms fill out a form that asks about quality of sleep, anxiety, depression, and satisfaction with their role at home. When she came back in for her first check post-partum it was the first time K. had scored low on any of those measures. You could tell the birth really took a lot of effort and energy out of her. But there she was, a very normal 7 lb 5 oz, 20″ baby that wasn’t supposed to be here. K. knew she was in for the largest physical challenge of her life and prepared accordingly.
Edwards, J & Alcantara, J (2017). “The Chiropractic Care of a Patient with Scoliosis During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period.” Journal of Maternal, Pediatric, and Family Health- Chiropractic Mar 2017 (1) 32-39.