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Pregnancy can have a profound effect on a woman’s body. The body changes due to the added weight of a child, which can induce back pain, loose ligaments and a cause a poor center of gravity. Chiropractic care and comfortable, supportive footwear can benefit women in all stages of pregnancy.  According to the American Chiropractic Association,  “During pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity almost immediately begins to shift forward to the front of her pelvis…. As the baby grows in size, the woman’s weight is projected even farther forward, and the curvature of her lower back is increased, placing extra stress on the spinal disks. In compensation, the normal curvature of the upper spine increases, as well.

During pregnancy, misalignment of the spine and pelvis are common changes that women may experience. This will put stress on the lower back and midsection.  Chiropractic manipulation to these areas of the body can help reduce discomfort and prepare women for childbirth. For mothers that are wary about consuming temporary pain-relievers during pregnancy, chiropractic adjustments can provide a solution.

As the baby grows inside the mother’s belly, more weight is added to her body, meaning more pressure on her feet. As a result, the medial longitudinal arches will drop, making the feet look bigger. Dropped or flat arches can be detrimental for other parts of the body. The knees, low back, and spine can become misaligned, inducing stress to these parts of the body.

Aside from receiving routine adjustments, pregnant women with fallen arches can help relieve pain by wearing comfortable and supportive shoes. Tennis shoes with a high medial arch support that can absorb shock help alleviate pain for pregnant women.

High heels are not recommended for pregnant women, as the potential for injury can be heightened when their center of gravity is off balance. According to a BBC News Health article, “High heels alter your posture, shorten your calf muscles and place increased pressure on your back and knees. In pregnancy this places extra pressure on your joints when they are already under strain – which can result in a host of foot, leg and back problems and could increase the likelihood of falls.”

High heels and ill-fitted shoes add stress to the body and disrupt the normal gait pattern even for women who are not pregnant. These types of shoes should be worn in moderation to avoid injury. Having a pair of comfortable shoes handy to slip into can prevent a night out from ending early.

Ill fitted shoes can have a harmful effect on women’s feet. According to Larry Keller, “Nine times more women develop problems from improperly fitting shoes than men, and nine out of 10 women wear shoes too small for their feet.”  Shoes that are too small can be rough on pressure points in the feet, creating calluses or painful bunions. Tight shoes disturb the gait pattern and can have a formidable effect on joints throughout the body.

Properly fitted shoes should leave space (around ½ inch) for the toes to have wiggle room. Women should shop for shoes during the afternoon, as the feet naturally expand during the day. Above all, shoes should be comfortable and supportive.

A Dr. Cohen’s systematic approach and expertise of spinal manipulations provide an option for pain relief. This is especially beneficial for pregnant women seeking pain relief without risking harm to their baby.

Routinely visiting a chiropractor such as Dr. Andrew Cohen at ProActive Chiropractic in San Francisco and making simple lifestyle adjustments can help relieve pain from pregnancy. It can also help alleviate stress from everyday life. This could be as simple as opting for more supportive footwear. On your next visit with your chiropractor, ask how you can make changes to start living a more stress-free life!

1 American Chiropractic Association. (2011). Chiropractic Advice for Moms-to-Be.  http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=85

2 BBC News Health. (2010). Stiletto warning for pregnant women. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10309086

3 Keller, Larry. (2011). How to Stop Tight Shoes From Hurting. http://www.ehow.com/how_7718116_stop-tight-shoes-hurting.html