I’ve had some expecting mothers tell me they didn’t need a chiropractic adjustment because they planned on getting a c-section. They felt that since they were having a belly birth, somehow the benefits of chiropractic weren’t going to apply to them. To tell the total truth, some of my biggest advocates are mothers who had repeat cesareans.
I’ll never forget one of my moms telling me she was up after her daughter’s birth, roaming the labor and delivery floor looking for the nursery. One of the on-duty nurses stopped her and asked what she was doing out of bed. She said, “Are you kidding? I feel a million times better than I did with my first two births!”
That really stuck with me, because she’d found me asking to prepare her body for a vaginal birth after 2 c-sections (VBA2C). When the labor wasn’t progressing, this soon-to-be mother of 3 opted for the elective surgical birth. I felt like I’d failed her. However, what that moment taught me was that there were benefits to balancing the body and physiology I just hadn’t appreciated yet.
I see chiropractic do 3 main things for patients whether they choose the belly birth or it’s required.
C-section recovery will be hard, but doesn’t have to be brutal
Moms who have had a belly birth dread that second recovery. It’s a major motivator for those who are attempting a VBAC. It’s tough enough doing life with a new baby after major surgery; toss a toddler (or two) on top of that, and you can see why any and all options get sought out to prevent a c-section. Some moms, though, don’t have that as an option and need to elect for the belly birth.
The number one thing I have noticed is that even though surgery creates stabilization issues in the core (from cutting the abdominal muscles) there seems to be a “banking” effect of stability in the pelvis if we can work with her in the 3rd trimester.
Set the Immune System up for Success
One of the great things chiropractic has been publishing on lately is the connection between subluxation correction and the immune system. The immune system mends the body after injury. The nerve system tells it what to do, and when to do it. There’s an entire toolbox for the immune system to choose from. Some tools bring more swelling and pain chemicals to keep the body resting. Sometimes that system gets a little overly ambitious and it’s the nerve system’s job to regulate that activity.
What we’ve seen in the office is that mothers who have c-sections recover faster than they (or their OB’s) generally expect. Let me ask- if you had options to heal something at 6 weeks versus 8 weeks, wouldn’t you want to do that?
Get the Gut Right
The microbiome, a collection of microorganisms like bacteria that actually keep you healthy when they’re there, seems to be as important as the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems to our health. The problem of course is that in order to prevent the most common c-section complication- a uterine infection- the doctors need to give their patients antibiotics. These are usually heavy-duty drugs that take out the body’s natural flora as collateral damage. The nerve system guides the movement of the gut, and the flora makes the neurotransmitter chemicals that help our brain and improve our mood.
Supplementing with a good quality probiotic is essential, but think about this: Would you drop your kids off at school without finding out the condition of the building? Would you leave them there without a teacher? The nerve system’s job is to prepare and balance the ecosystem for those beneficial bacteria to thrive. They work in a lovely two-way dance to enhance one another.