Dr Chantel da Silva grew up in Durban, and qualified from the Durban University of Technology with an M.Tech degree in Chiropractic. She is is a registered Chiropractor with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA), a member of the Paediatric Chiropractic South Africa (PCSA) and the Gauteng Association for Infant Mental Health (GAIMH-SA). She moved to Cape Town to be closer to her two adorable nephews and grow professionally in the beautiful setting of the Mother City.
She founded Rise Chiropractic, 2 years ago with a very specific purpose, to be a place of support and guidance for families with a focus on promoting chiropractic, movement and a healthy mindset. In just 2 years her practice has grown significantly providing care from an office in Parklands, as well as from Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in the Cape Town CBD.
Dr Chantel is especially passionate about providing chiropractic care for pregnant women, newborns and babies. She regularly attends seminars and courses on woman’s health, chiropractic techniques and infant health. She lives with her fiancé, 2 rescue cats and a dog in Claremont. Just a short cycle from her drive way and she is on the mountain where she loves to walk her Collie mix and mountain bike.
Chiropractic Care during Pregnancy is such a fantastic tool for a healthy pregnancy and a great start in life for you precious unborn child. It really is a little unknown saving grace as Dr Chantel will explain in this amazing article!
My sister in-law had a really rough time with her first pregnancy, and the usual chiropractic care was not respectful of her body or understanding the physiological changes that happen to a pregnant woman. I was not living in Cape Town as yet, so all I could do was offer what little support I could over the phone. Once my nephew was three years old, I moved to Cape Town and discovered my sister in-law was secretly dealing with the trauma and injury of the pregnancy. My nephew had kicked her in the ribs so hard that she was still in pain three years on. Not only that, but her issues had gotten considerably worse. She couldn’t bend down or train as she used to. Every day she was in immense pain, but because of the strong woman she is, she just carried on. So I began her postpartum treatment, but through it all I keep thinking back to how things could have been different had she received the appropriate treatment earlier on.
Five years on and she was pregnant again. I was so excited to be able to care and support her this time, and be HANDS On. Her experience, was so much different to the first. It wasn’t plain sailing in the least but she was able to continue on her life, feel energised, managed to limit any further injuries and her postpartum recovery was enhanced. Writing this article I asked her what she would add to this paragraph as she was the one in it, and it was how the adjustments affected her energy levels, almost as if she had had a full nights rest. It was helping my sister in-law through her second pregnancy that got me to attend courses and seminars specifically on treating woman through the pregnancy and postpartum journey.
It is more often than not that my pregnant patients are more comfortable and happier in their last trimester than in the first or second, because of the journey we have shared since they came under care. Seeing a prenatal chiropractor is so much more than just treating back pain. Our ultimate goal is the best health possible for mom and baby. When a woman comes into my practice seeking chiropractic care, we go on a journey of manual therapy (hands on treatment), exercise guidance, diet and supplementation advice, as well as natural ways to deal with those nasty pregnancy symptoms and stress. Treating a pregnant woman is all about looking at the whole, physical, chemical (think hormones and diet/supplementation) and emotional.
Pregnancy; is arguably one of the most magical experiences in life. People say pregnant woman glow, their skin looks gorgeous, hair thick and lovely. On the contrary, most moms I see grumble under their breath when they hear all the compliments. They definitely have some, well… *different* words to describe pregnancy.
Symptoms during pregnancy differ for each woman, and even each pregnancy. Some are mostly a little annoying. Others are excruciatingly painful. Examples of these symptoms include nausea, headaches, heartburn, fatigue, stretch marks and back pain.
In the cases of nausea, consistent light snacking will prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping which helps reduce nausea. Other items that may be helpful are fresh ginger tea, increasing Vitamin B6 which can be found in bananas, raisins, dried apricots and prunes. I also recommend taking 10 to 25mg of Vitamin B6 three times a day, to combat the morning sickness. To help with stretch marks massage problem areas with the Whipped Belly Butter from Bene-Vita to keep the skin supple.
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What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic care explained by the American Pregnancy Association “Chiropractic care is health maintenance of the spinal column, discs, related nerves and bone geometry without drugs or surgery. It involves the art and science of adjusting misaligned joints in the body, especially of the spine, which reduces spinal nerve stress and therefore promotes health throughout the body.”
Is Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy Safe?
If you are new to chiropractic, I know what you’re thinking. “How can cracking my back really help me and not hurt me during pregnancy?” Chiropractic care is more than just the cracking of the back, in fact the majority of the care pregnant woman receive in our office is working on ligaments, soft tissues, muscles of the pelvis and gentle spinal adjustments.
The APA informs us that “there are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy,” and “chiropractors that have been trained to work with pregnant women may use tables for a pregnant woman’s body, and they will use techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen.”
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Why Should You Have Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy?
Its so simple really, the nervous system is the master communication system to all the body systems including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively. A protruding abdomen and increased back curve, pelvic changes, and postural adaptations are all things that can result in a misaligned spine and pelvis.
To keep bones and joints healthy not only for mom but also baby, I like to recommend mothers take additional Vitamin D3 and K2. This helps with calcium absorption for mom’s bones and joints but also the development of babies skeletal system. A less common but still very scary pregnancy ’side effect’ is decreased bone density and osteoporosis.
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A big part of the treatment we do is working on pelvic balancing for optimal growth and development of baby, labor and delivery. When the pelvic bones are not balanced, it can cause a reduction in the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for growth, as well as birth leading to unnecessary interventions.
Having a balanced pelvis has many benefits for a pregnant woman:
- Babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth (becoming engaged).
- Assists in preventing intrauterine constraint, breech and posterior presentations.
- Reduces the potential for dystocia (difficult labor).
- Results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.
Another article states that findings from one clinical study “indicated relief from back pain during the pregnancy in 84% of the cases. The authors also noted that chiropractic manipulation may significantly decrease the incidence of back labor.”
And, “A retrospective review of statistics reported that primigravida women (first-time pregnancy) who seek chiropractic care throughout gestation have, on average, a 25% shorter labor time whereas multiparous women who seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have, on average, 31% shorter labor times.”
Who doesn’t want a shorter labor?
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Body Changes During Pregnancy
- The hormone relaxin loosens joints; increasing mobility and decreasing stability which creates aggravation of previous joint injuries and amplifies pelvic imbalances.
- Pelvic misalignment alters the pelvic opening and creates tension through the soft tissues that support the uterus.
- Increased breast size adds additional strain to the mid and upper back.
- Center of gravity moves forward increasing the lower back curve, placing extra strain and force through the lumbar spinal joints.
- Growing baby and increased fetal movement creates an expansion of lower rib cage which can be aggravating to mid-back joints that connect to the ribs.
- Changed gait becomes wide, creating variation in skeletal joint and muscle mobility, aggravating the pelvic joints, hip joints, sciatic nerves, and supporting uterine ligaments.
- Simply put, growing a human is NO JOKE.
To support mind and body after the birth of your baby, try homeopathy and a kit like Little Gems Kit for New Moms covers you.
But what if I am Not in Pain?
Regular check up’s of your spinal and pelvic bio mechanics (movement) and nervous system function by a chiropractor can help detect, maintain, and prevent, any dysfunctions as and when they arise before causing any symptoms.
Your body has a way of altering your mechanics to avoid pain when dysfunction is present, which is a smart in the short term but can bite you in the butt long term if you don’t correct the dysfunction. Additionally during pregnancy your whole body is so loose due to the relaxin hormones your muscles cannot cope with keeping everything balanced, and thus the further along a woman is in her pregnancy the more she may need to come in for assessments and treatment.
Other ways we support the health of moms and growing babies in our practice is through advice and guidance on appropriate movement and strengthening, pelvic floor exercises and the need for appropriate supplementation over and above the prenatal vitamin pack. Please go and have a read through our article Back to Basics – Fertility, Pregnancy & Breastfeeding for great recommendations and advice for a comfortable and healthy pregnancy.
Besides the supplements already mentioned a good quality Probiotic is absolutely essential for good overall health and immune support. Hormonal shifts during the perinatal period can wreak havoc on the healthy balance of bowel bacteria and can quickly result of a yeast imbalance. I definitely base my recommendations on the woman sitting in front of me, but the supplements mentioned are a good foundation to start with should you be unsure.
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Lets recap, chiropractic care during pregnancy has the following benefits:
- Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
- Reducing time and labor of delivery
- Relieving back, neck, or joint pain
- Preventing a potential cesarean delivery
- Reduced pelvic and round ligament discomfort
- Reduced instance of dystocia
- Pelvic balance
- Reduced need for pain medication
This is why chiropractic care during pregnancy can really be a saving grace!
Finding a chiropractor that is familiar with pregnancy care and can truly focus on your health and well-being in a holistic way can help you have a more straightforward and direct pregnancy. This leads to an overall safer, healthier and happier birth for you and baby!
Wishing you a well adjusted journey
Disclaimer: Each person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual condition is unique. The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your doctor for matters pertaining to your specific health and diet. The author of this article is not held responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use or misuse of any information, suggestions or procedures described herein. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.