Chiropractors during pregnancy focus on their patient’s bone structure, linked nerves, and spinal health. Their treatment involves the science and technique of correcting misaligned joints in the body, particularly the spine, to lessen spinal nerve stress and improve overall health (1).
Pregnancy-related musculoskeletal symptoms include lower-extremity issues of the hip, knee, foot, and leg spasms (2). Studies indicate chiropractic care during pregnancy may significantly relieve symptoms and support an uncomplicated and comfortable pregnancy (3).
Read through the post to understand the importance of chiropractic care in pregnancy, safety, and precautions.
What Is Prenatal Chiropractic Care?
Prenatal chiropractic care involves specialists educated to work with expecting women. They adopt stretching and gently pressing procedures on particular joints to enhance joint motion and function (4).
Chiropractors who have received special training in treating pregnant patients employ procedures that prevent undue pressure on the abdomen. They also use special equipment like tables to support their patients. The Webster Technique is one method that chiropractors use most frequently when treating pregnant women. This procedure aims to alleviate the stress in the uterus and the surrounding ligaments. It also promotes balance in the pelvis, thus, supporting the ideal fetal positioning (1).
Chiropractors may also advise you about safe exercises and stretches while pregnant.
Although chiropractic care is widely used during pregnancy, it is always advisable to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for safety (1).
What Are The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy?
Chiropractic care is safe and effective during pregnancy. Women undergo several physiological and endocrinological changes throughout pregnancy to prepare the environment for the growing fetus. In pregnant women, joint and lower back discomfort results from changes in the body, including a larger back curve, pressure on the spine, higher hormone levels, adjustments to posture, and intrauterine constraint (1) (3).
Pregnant women may benefit from chiropractic care in several ways. Some of these are:
- Improves sleep quality: Sleep disturbances are relatively common during pregnancy and peak in the second trimester. Studies reveal that chiropractic care may enhance sleep quality (5).
- Eases labor and childbirth: Prenatal chiropractic care focuses on maintaining pelvic alignment and treating back pain during pregnancy, which can speed up labor and childbirth (6).
- Reduces probability of C-section: The Webster technique in chiropractic care balances the mother’s pelvis and releases pressure on the uterus, thus reducing the likelihood of a C-section (6).
- Alleviates sciatica: Chiropractic therapy may also help with sciatica, shooting pain are the lower back and legs that is common during pregnancy (7).
- Reduces headaches: Using spinal manipulative treatment (SMT) and other complementary therapies, chiropractic care may also help alleviate pregnancy-related symptoms such as headaches (8).
- Releases muscle tension: Chiropractic care may alleviate the strain on the muscles and joints and the increased pressure on the lumbar spine caused by pregnancy (6).
- Eases nausea and vomiting: A chiropractor may aid in reducing nausea and vomiting by adjusting the spine and enhancing overall nervous system performance (9).
- Promotes pelvic balance: Prenatal chiropractic therapy supports healthy pelvic balance, allowing the baby to move head-first into the ideal delivery position (9).
How Is Chiropractic Care Beneficial For The Unborn Baby?
Receiving prenatal chiropractic care can aid in creating pelvic balance and alignment. A misaligned pelvis may provide less space for the developing baby, which could cause intrauterine constraints and make it difficult for the baby to position itself for birth (1). Intrauterine constraints may also lead to neonatal birth abnormalities, such as plagiocephaly (asymmetrical head), congenital hip dislocation, and micrognathia (smaller lower jaw) (10).
Is Chiropractic Care Recommended In Breech Delivery?
Breech presentationsiXIt is when the baby's feet, buttocks, or both are positioned to appear first during delivery are typically not a concern until a patient is 37 weeks pregnant. A breech presentation occurs in about 4% of pregnancies (1).
Larry Webster, D.C., founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), established a specialized chiropractic analysis and adjustment called the Webster Technique to help chiropractors balance a pregnant woman’s pelvis. (1).
Studies show that babies have a better chance of shifting into the proper position for birth with a balanced pelvis. Having the baby positioned correctly reduces the possibility of a difficult birth, making it simpler and safer for the mother and the baby. The study also suggests that performing the Webster Technique may be beneficial if a woman presents breech in the eighth month of pregnancy. ICPA also recommends that women avail chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy to have a better childbirth experience (1).
Safety Precautions While Getting Chiropractic Care In Pregnancy
Although chiropractic treatment is safe, it is typically not advised if you are experiencing cramping, sudden pelvic pain, placenta previaiXA pregnancy problem where your placenta wholly or partially obstructs the baby's exit from the vagina , placenta abruptioniXA pregnancy condition where the placenta separates early from the uterus, resulting in bleeding and abdominal pain , ectopic pregnancyiXA pregnancy in which the fertilized egg develops outside the uterus, mainly in the fallopian tubes, ovary, abdomen, or cervix , vaginal bleeding, toxemiaiXA condition in which pregnant women have elevated blood pressure, protein in the urine, swelling, blurred vision, and headaches , or any other pregnancy complications (3).
Despite the safety of chiropractic therapy during pregnancy, caution should be taken. Always get your doctor’s approval before going to a chiropractor while you’re expecting. Inform your chiropractor of your pregnancy, keep an eye on your comfort level, and communicate if you experience any issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When can I start going to the chiropractor?
A woman may see a chiropractor anytime during the pregnancy after getting consent from her doctor.
2. How often should I go to a chiropractor when pregnant?
The frequency of care will depend on factors such as the symptoms’ severity and how long you have been experiencing them. Your chiropractor may be able to tell you the details of the treatment.
3. When should I stop the treatment after pregnancy?
While pregnancy discomfort can be safely and gently relieved with chiropractic treatment, you may stop the procedure once your issues have been addressed and you have spoken with your healthcare physician and chiropractor.
4. Can I lay on my stomach for chiropractic treatment when pregnant?
While lying on your stomach during pregnancy may not be comfortable, chiropractors may utilize unique tables and techniques to prevent unnecessary abdominal pressure. Hence, laying on the stomach during the treatment may not be an issue. However, consult your chiropractor to know the best position that might suit you (1).
Many women turn to a chiropractor to manage their aches and pains during pregnancy. Dealing with pregnancy discomfort is difficult, so non-invasive methods such as chiropractic care may be helpful. These treatments are safe if provided by qualified professionals. They help you enjoy better health during pregnancy and facilitate vaginal childbirth. However, before you receive chiropractic treatments, ensure your doctor has given the go-ahead. Avoid these treatments if you are dealing with pregnancy complications.
Infographic: How Chiropractic Care Helps In Pregnancy
Pregnant women frequently experience aches and pains in different parts of their bodies. Some even encounter other complications. Chiropractic care is a non-invasive technique that may provide relief and comfort during this time and help women enjoy better health. Check out this infographic to learn about some benefits of this treatment.
- Chiropractic treatment during pregnancy is safe and effective in treating aches and pains.
- It may help improve sleep quality and relieve joint, neck, and back pain.
- Chiropractic care should be avoided in cases of vaginal bleeding, cramps, or other pregnancy complications.
- Pregnant women should always see their healthcare physician before starting a chiropractic treatment during pregnancy.
- Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy.
- Serdar Kseikburun et al; (2018) ; Musculoskeletal Pain And Symptoms In Pregnancy: A Descriptive Study.
- Cara L. Borggren; (2007); Pregnancy and Chiropractic: A Narrative Review Of The Literature.
- Chiropractic: In Depth.
- Boris Skanica; (2018); Effectiveness Of Manual Treatment On Pregnancy Symptoms:Usefulness of Manual Treatment in Treating Pregnancy Symptoms.
- Benefits of Chiropractic During Pregnancy.
- How to Handle Your Sciatica During Pregnancy.
- Joel Alcantara and Martine Cossette; (2009) ; Intractable Migraine Headaches During Pregnancy Under Chiropractic Care.
- Pregnancy and Chiropractic.
- M C Higginbottom et al; (1980) ; Intrauterine Constraints and Craniosynostosis.
- External Cephalic Version (ECV).