For many pregnant women, aches and pains in the lower back and hips are part of the experience. In fact, approximately 50 percent of pregnant women will experience back pain at some point before they deliver.
Luckily, relief may be just a chiropractor visit away. Here’s what you should know about the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy.
Is seeing a chiropractor safe during pregnancy?
Chiropractic care is the health maintenance of the spinal column and the adjustment of misaligned joints. It doesn’t involve drugs or surgery. Instead, it’s a kind of physical therapy to reduce spinal nerve stress and promote health throughout the body.
More than 1 million chiropractic adjustments are given every day, all over the world. Complications are rare. During pregnancy, chiropractic care is believed to be safe. But there are certain circumstances where chiropractic care may not be a good idea.
Always get your doctor’s approval before seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy. Chiropractic care isn’t typically recommended if you’re experiencing the following:
- vaginal bleeding
- placenta previa or placenta abruption
- ectopic pregnancy
- moderate to severe toxemia
While all licensed chiropractors receive training related to pregnancy, some chiropractors specialize in prenatal care. Ask if they specialize in this area, or get a referral from your doctor.
To adjust pregnant women, chiropractors will use adjusting tables to accommodate their growing bellies. All chiropractors should use techniques that won’t put pressure on the abdomen.
Chiropractors can also show you effective stretches for relieving tension and easing discomfort.
How can chiropractic care help during pregnancy?
There are many hormonal and physical changes you’ll experience during your pregnancy. Some of these will have an impact on your posture and comfort. As your baby becomes heavier, your center of gravity shifts, and your posture adjusts accordingly.
These physical changes during your pregnancy can lead to a misaligned spine or joints.
Other uncomfortable changes during pregnancy might include:
- a protruding abdomen resulting in an increased curve of your back
- changes to your pelvis as your body begins to prepare for labor
- adaptations to your posture
Regular visits to a chiropractor during your pregnancy can address these issues. One collaborative chiropractic and medical study revealed that 75 percent of pregnant chiropractic care patients reported pain relief. Plus, adjustments designed to re-establish balance and alignment to your pelvis and spine will do more than just make you feel better. Chiropractic care can be beneficial for your baby, too.
Is chiropractic care beneficial for your baby-to-be?
A pelvis that’s out of alignment can restrict the amount of space available to your developing baby. When an external force obstructs your growing baby’s normal movements, it’s known as intrauterine constraint. This can lead to birth defects.
Another complication that a misaligned pelvis may pose relates to delivery. When the pelvis is out of alignment, it can make it hard for your baby to move into the best position to be born, which is rear-facing, head down.
In some cases, this could affect a woman’s ability to have a natural and noninvasive birth. A balanced pelvis also means your baby has a lower chance of moving into a breech or posterior position. When your baby is in a nonoptimal birthing position, it can lead to a longer, more complicated delivery.
Other evidence points to improved outcomes in labor and delivery for women who’ve received chiropractic care during their pregnancy. In fact, it may help reduce the length of time you’re in labor.
In addition, regular chiropractic care while you’re pregnant can offer the following benefits:
- help you maintain a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy
- relieving pain in the back, neck, hips, and joints
- help to control symptoms of nausea
If you’re experiencing back, hip, or joint pain in your pregnancy, and you’re considering chiropractic care, speak to your doctor first. They can make a recommendation about a qualified chiropractor in your area. They’ll also help you decide if chiropractic care is safe for you and your baby-to-be.
If your doctor gives you the green light and you’re ready for chiropractic care for pain relief during your pregnancy, you can try these online resources to find a chiropractor in your area:
Chiropractic care is usually a safe, effective practice during pregnancy. Not only can routine chiropractic care help manage pain in your back, hips, and joints, it can also establish pelvic balance. That can provide your baby with as much space as possible over the course of your pregnancy. This may lead to a faster, easier labor and delivery.
Is it safe to visit the chiropractor during your entire pregnancy, or only after the first trimester?
Yes, it’s safe for women to visit a chiropractor during the entire pregnancy. But keep in mind that a pregnant woman should not visit a chiropractor if she has the following: vaginal bleeding, ruptured amniotic membranes, cramping, sudden onset of pelvic pain, premature labor, placenta previa, placenta abruption, ectopic pregnancy, and moderate to severe toxemia.Alana Biggers, MD, MPHAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.