According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal every 25 minutes. Hospitals recognize them immediately by their unique wail: short, high-pitched and full of anguish. Then come the more tell-tale signs of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS): the shaking, the vomiting, little bodies stiffened like a plank of wood.
Long-term symptoms such as hyperactivity, attention disorders, and growth issues can follow them into childhood, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. While not all newborns exposed to opioids through the blood exchanged by the placenta show symptoms – studies place the number between 55 and 94 percent – the risk is high enough to give mothers-to-be pause before easing their back and neck pain with an opioid prescription.
And, as the recent Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Study of Americans discovered, chiropractic care is a viable drug-free option in relieving chronic back and joint pain.
A study reported by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes in Health in 2014 found that 85 percent of the women experiencing low back pain said they were happy or very happy with the chiropractic care they received during their pregnancies.
“Chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant and have specialized expertise in establishing pelvic balance and alignment,” says Sherry McAllister, a doctor of chiropractic and executive vice president of F4CP. “Moms who choose chiropractic as a first-line option for joint and spine-related pain management will avoid prescription painkillers and potential addiction, saving their babies from agonizing withdrawal from these medications when they are born.”
Chiropractic care can correct posture issues in pregnant women, which are often offset by the extra weight carried in front of their bodies. It can help control symptoms of nausea as well, and can ease labor and delivery.
While all doctors of chiropractic know how to care for pregnant patients, those who carry a CACCP, DACCP, or Webster certification from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association or are a member of ICPA have received additional training in pregnancy care.
To find a chiropractor near you, click here for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress’ Find-a-Doctor guide.