During pregnancy, it’s common for women to experience back pain as the fetus grows. Muscle strain, postural changes, and fluctuating hormonal levels can all contribute to the discomfort as the changes in your body can lead to a misalignment of your spine or joints.
All chiropractors are trained to provide prenatal care and can offer much-needed pain relief. But the benefits of prenatal chiropractic care go beyond easing discomfort during pregnancy.
How Prenatal Chiropractic Treatment Benefits Mother-To-Be and Her Baby
As the fetus develops, a woman’s body changes in ways that not only contribute to potential back pain but that may also affect other pregnancy symptoms and fetal position in the uterus.
While the fetus is growing, pelvic misalignment can limit the amount of room for the baby to develop, which can potentially lead to birth defects. Lack of space - known as intrauterine constraint - can also make it difficult for the baby to get into position for an easy delivery.
Prenatal chiropractic care brings the spine and pelvis into proper alignment so that
it’s more likely that the mother-to-be can avoid a c-section or struggle with the difficulty of a breech or posterior birth.
One method chiropractors use to help avoid a breech or posterior fetal position is called the Webster technique. Focusing on the pelvis, the sacrum (the bone located at the base of the spine), and the surrounding muscles and ligaments, chiropractors perform gentle adjustments to restore balance to the pelvic and sacral region.
Some have mischaracterized the Webster technique as a way to correct non-optimal fetal position, but it’s actually meant to proactively limit stress on the nervous system, which is the primary communication system of your body. In that sense, prenatal adjustments using the Webster technique or others can benefit all pregnant women, whether or not there’s indication of breech or posterior fetal positioning.
Prenatal chiropractic care can benefit the mother-to-be and her baby by:
- Lower back pain relief
- Maintaining a healthy pregnancy
- Preventing a complicated or invasive delivery
- Reduce labor and delivery time
- Relieve symptoms of nausea
Chiropractic Prenatal Care: What to Expect
Chiropractic pregnancy treatment is gentle and absolutely does not include any of the forceful manipulations that are used in other types of adjustments. The chiropractor provides a special table and/or cushions to make their pregnant clients feel comfortable. Tables will typically have a section that drops down to accommodate a growing belly. None of the techniques used will put pressure on the abdominal region.
What You Can Expect During Your Chiropractic Session
After the examination, the chiropractor will combine the results of that assessment with your medical history to prescribe a course of treatment.
Depending on your comfort and how far along you are in your pregnancy, you’ll lie face down or on your side on an adjustment table designed for your comfort. The adjustments often include gentle pressure and release - not jerky movements.
Some chiropractic adjustments will require the woman to lie on her back as the chiropractor puts pressure on specific ligaments to reduce tension.
After the chiropractor completes the prenatal massage, he or she may recommend exercises or stretches that the patient can do at home. It’s also important to stay well hydrated after an adjustment to aid blood flow and lymphatic drainage and to prevent swelling.
Is Chiropractic Pregnancy Treatment Safe?
The American Pregnancy Association has seen no evidence to suggest that chiropractic pregnancy treatment is harmful. However, some women should avoid it or consult with their OB/GYN if they’re experiencing:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Placental abruption - when the placenta starts to separate from the inner wall of the uterus
- Placenta previa - the placenta either partially or fully covers the cervix
- Ectopic pregnancy - pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus (generally, the fallopian tubes)
- Pre-eclampsia - a severe spike in blood pressure, albumin leaking into the urine stream, and extreme swelling
Prenatal Chiropractic Care is Beneficial Throughout Your Entire Pregnancy
Whether you’re in the early, mid, or later months of your pregnancy, chiropractors can use adjustment and alignment to enhance your comfort and prepare you for an easier delivery. The chiropractors at First Wellness Family Chiropractic are trained to work with women in any stage of their pregnancies, and have perfected the techniques that can help you and your baby stay healthy before and during labor. Contact us to learn more about our prenatal techniques or to schedule an appointment.
Attending to the unique needs of expectant mothers is the goal of every prenatal massage. Certified prenatal massage therapists are specially trained to tailor their massage techniques to help alleviate common pregnancy complaints and to protect both mother and child during the massage.