Can I Use a Chiropractor if I’m Pregnant?

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Back pain tends to be a very common complaint among pregnant women, and because of their pregnancies, it can be more complicated to treat. 

For back pain, the best course of treatment is usually non-invasive, gentle chiropractic adjustments.  Chiropractic care focuses on the entire body as a whole, including the discs, nerves, and bone geometry of the spinal column.  A chiropractor is a highly skilled doctor who focuses his or her treatments on the adjustment of misaligned joints, which reduces stress on spinal nerves and promotes a healthy body.

Just how safe is chiropractic treatment for back pain during pregnancy?

Common Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy 

Pregnancy obviously changes an expectant mother’s body in many ways.  Some of these changes can result in misaligned joints, causing the familiar back pain that pregnant women have all too frequently.

The top three physical changes a woman’s body goes through are:

  • Pelvic changes
  • Protruding abdomen
  • Increased back curve
  • Postural adaptations

During pregnancy, the misalignment of the pelvis can affect the amount of room available for the baby as it develops.  This is known as “intrauterine constraint” and can make it hard for the baby to rotate into the correct position for its delivery.  If this happens, the mother’s ability to have a natural child birth is reduced; if the baby cannot maneuver, it can lead to breech or posterior presentations, necessitating a complicated C-section.

With the spine housing a large portion of the nervous system, its misalignment can affect the entire body.  The spine relies on proper alignment to keep the body functioning properly.

Your Chiropractor and Pregnancy

Having chiropractic treatments during pregnancy is not only safe, it is extremely beneficial in every stage of the pregnancy. 

Chiropractors have received special training to work with expectant mothers, and treatment and care during pregnancy is routine for them. In addition, chiropractors are well versed in the care of women who are trying to conceive.

A chiropractor will use a table that can be adjusted to fit the expectant mother’s changing body shape and can make a treatment plan that will not place any strain or pressure on her abdomen.  He or she can also give the pregnant woman a series of gentle stretches and an exercise program developed especially for her changing needs.

During pregnancy, the expectant mother will benefit from chiropractic treatments by:

  • Controlling nausea
  • Relieving pain in the neck, joint or back
  • Maintaining a healthy pregnancy
  • Encouraging a natural birth
  • Reducing the time spent in labor
  • Helping to prevent a cesarean delivery

How Can Chiropractic Care Prevent Breech Births?

Chiropractic care has been shown to increase pelvic balance and allow the developing fetus to move into the optimal position for birth.  A technique, named after Larry Webster, D.C, who founded the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association), has been specifically designed to reduce stress to her uterus and the supporting ligaments and help to establish a natural balance of these structures.

It is common for babies to present in the breech position all the way through the pregnancy, up until the third trimester.  The mother isn’t considered a risk for breech delivery until the baby remains in the breech position at 37 weeks.  It is estimated that 4% of pregnancies will feature a breech presentation.

In a July/August report by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, there was found to be an 82% rate of success in turning the baby if chiropractors use the Webster Technique from the 8th month of pregnancy when the fetus is presenting in the breech position.

The ICPA suggests that pregnant women should seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancies to keep the pelvis properly balanced and to make sure the baby has room to develop.  This helps ensure the baby will have the space it needs to move into the correct position for its birth and help to avoid the worries of posterior or breech presentations.  A properly positioned baby at the time of birth will result in the entire labor process being much easier and safer for both mother and baby.

Your OB and Chiropractic Care

Talk to your OB about the benefits of seeking chiropractic care during your pregnancy.  More and more health care providers are recommending their patients make an appointment with a chiropractor for evaluation and a treatment plan over the course of the pregnancy.  A chiropractor will provide a safe and natural way to maintain a healthy pregnancy for both mother and baby.

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