The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on November 2, 2017, documenting the improvement of a woman’s pregnancy as well as her unborn child’s growth. The growth of a fetus is determined by genetic factors and the mother’s ability to supply quality nutrients to her unborn baby.
When a fetus does not achieve the expected growth rate during pregnancy, the condition is called Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR). The study reports that FGR is fairly common, occurring in about 1 in 300 pregnancies. The condition is usually detected by routine ultrasound.
According to WebMD, the delayed growth of a fetus puts the unborn at risk for a number of conditions including low birth weight, difficulty handling the stresses of vaginal delivery, decreased oxygen levels, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), low resistance to infection, low Apgar scores, breathing problems, trouble maintaining body temperature, abnormally high red blood cell count, and long-term growth problems.
According to the study authors, the most common cause for FGR is placental insufficiency. This is an inadequate supply of nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the fetus to sustain normal fetal growth. A study published in the American Famiily Physician reported that FGR is the second leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality, followed only by prematurity.
In this study, a 29-year-old woman who was 32 weeks pregnant went to the chiropractor because she was concerned about her unborn baby’s growth rate after being diagnosed with placental insufficiency. An ultrasound confirmed a slowed growth rate from 28 weeks to 30 weeks and a reduction in the unborn baby’s head circumference from weeks 30 to 32. The obstetrician was so concerned that he had suggested an emergency caesarean section be performed if the fetus’ growth rate did not improve by week 32 of pregnancy.
A chiropractic examination was performed. From this examination, it was determined that multiple vertebral subluxations were present. Specific chiropractic adjusting techniques were applied to address the woman’s subluxations.
The study reports that one day after the initial chiropractic adjustment, the patient returned to the hospital for a scheduled Doppler ultrasound. The results of that ultrasound showed that the placental resistance had returned to normal limits. Measurements taken during additional ultrasounds in weeks 32 to 36 of the woman’s pregnancy indicated an increase and normalization in fetal growth. The woman was able to continue her pregnancy through to 37 weeks, giving her fetus 3 to 4 more weeks in utero, after which she elected to give birth via cesarean section.
In the study discussion, the authors wrote, “This case describes the normalization of FGR concomitant with chiropractic care for the management of vertebral subluxation.” They continued, “Chiropractic care aims to optimize health and well-being through the enhancement of the nervous system function by removing nerve interference caused by vertebral subluxations.”