Considering the challenges it poses to a woman’s physical well-being, adequately preparing a women’s body for the physically demanding task of pregnancy is of utmost importance.
The spine houses the nervous system, which forms the fundamental basis of bodily control. For chiropractors, detecting subluxations – misalignments that disrupt signals traveling from the brain through the spinal column to all cells, tissues, and organs – is a crucial part of their work. During pregnancy, these misalignments can lead to issues with the alignment of the pelvis and joint function, making their detection and correction crucial for optimal health.
Hormones and ligament laxity, coupled with dramatic changes in biomechanics and weight gain, contribute to roughly 50% of pregnant women experiencing back pain at some point during their pregnancy. This common symptom becomes troubling and causes many women to seek relief from a doctor.
Conventional solutions often come in the form of muscle relaxers and painkillers. There are some inherent risks, side effects, and lasting consequences of these medications for both mother and baby.
Chiropractic is attractive to mothers because it is a non-invasive drug-free pain reliever. A report in the Journal of the American Chiropractic Association showed a whopping 75% of pregnant women who received chiropractic treatment experienced pain relief. (1) In addition, many pregnant women find significant relief from symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, constipation, pubic pain, difficulty sleeping, and increased energy levels after receiving chiropractic care.
Is chiropractic care safe during pregnancy?
If you are wondering if chiropractic is safe for pregnant women, the answer is absolutely yes. Doctors of chiropractic are well-versed in treating pregnant patients. If you have been under the care of a chiropractor and have x-rays on file, your chiropractor can develop a treatment plan specific to your spine and nervous system based on previous analysis. If you have never seen a chiropractor before, it’s common for the doctor to use alternative methods of analysis such as palpation, thermal scans, and orthopedic exams in lieu of X-rays to determine a course of action. A 2006 study declared, “The results suggest that chiropractic treatment was safe in these cases and support the hypothesis that it may be effective for reducing pain intensity” (2).
Why is chiropractic beneficial to pregnant women?
Numerous changes happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy. One major change that occurs during the third trimester is the release of the hormone relaxin. This hormone causes joints to become loosened in preparation for birth. This release can decrease joint stability, leading to alterations in posture and pain. American Medical Association Board of Trustees member, Dr. Irvin Henderson, MD, conducted a study that proved “women who received chiropractic adjustments in their third trimester were able to carry and deliver their child with much more comfort.” (3) Reduced labor time has also been linked to chiropractic care during pregnancy. Dr. Joan Fallon found first-time mothers had an average of 25% shorter labor duration, while those on their second pregnancy or beyond had a 31% reduction in average labor time. (1)
While there is scarce data on other benefits, many chiropractors get feedback from patients that they not only experience reduced pain during pregnancy and shorter labor times but also fewer complications and less medical intervention during labor and delivery.
Tips to care for your spine and nervous system during pregnancy:
- Schedule regular visits to your MaxLiving doctor.
- When rising from a lying position, turn on your side, prop yourself up on one arm, and slowly rise to a sitting position before standing up.
- Wear comfortable shoes and avoid wearing heels.
- Generally, keep lifting under 20–30 lbs. and be cautious with weight-bearing exercises.
- Be careful when lifting and carrying older children. When lifting is necessary, squat and lift with your legs rather than bending over. Avoid holding children on one hip only.
- Practice Kegel exercises to work on your pelvic floor muscles. This helps strengthen the muscles beneficial for pregnancy as well as bladder and bowel function. Kegel exercises help manage and prevent bladder leakage during pregnancy and beyond.
- Do regular mild-to-moderate exercise (first consult with your physician to ensure you are cleared for this activity).
- Lightly stretch often.
- Get a massage regularly.
The bottom line
Because of the safety and efficacy of chiropractic care, there are no downsides to receiving chiropractic adjustments throughout pregnancy.
About the Author
Kimberly Roberto is a wife, mother of three, author, and business owner. She and her husband Fred have owned and operated a chiropractic and wellness clinic for the last 25 years. Kimberly and Fred have been a part of MaxLiving for since it’s onset. She co-authored the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans book in 2009 which sold over 10,000 copies and recently authored the MaxLiving’s Maximizing Your Pregnancy, Birth and Newbornbook. She’s a holistic nutritionist and maintains a healthy cooking/recipe blog. She is passionate about natural health and helping people reach their potential for health and wellness. She resides in Marietta, GA and their three children are now grown and attending college.
- Borggren CL. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature. J Chiropr Med. 2007;6(2):70-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jcme.2007.04.004
- Henderson I.. American Medical Association records released in 1987 during trial in U.S. District Court, Northern Illinois, Eastern Division, No. 76C 3777. May 1987