What to Know About Visiting a Chiropractor While Pregnant

Whether it’s your first or your fourth, pregnancies can be a challenging time. It’s also difficult to figure out what’s okay and what you’re comfortable doing.

There are the clear “do nots” of pregnancy for most women, like avoiding jacuzzis, or drinking wine, or eating sushi. It’s always best to consult with your individual obstetrician regarding your personal care and activities during pregnancy, but one question is often about the safety and benefits of receiving chiropractic treatments during pregnancy.

Here are some things to consider (all backed by research!) if you’re thinking about seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy.

1. Chiropractic care is not dangerous for normal pregnancies.

A common misconception is that spinal or pelvic manipulations can somehow harm a fetus or induce labor in a pregnant mother. However, it’s always important to remember that chiropractors receive education and training specifically to treat expectant mothers. They know what they can and cannot do, and they understand all the physiological dynamics of being pregnant and receiving chiropractic treatment. Specifically, the American Pregnancy Association acknowledges some of the highest forms of training that involve specifically treating pregnant women: DACCP, CACCP, ICPA, and Webster Certified.

2. Chiropractic treatments can help relieve sciatica and lower back pain in pregnant women.

Back pain is one of the most common problems among women who are pregnant, and it’s noted as being highest in the third trimester. Sciatica nerve pain is also extremely uncomfortable and painful for many pregnant women. Chiropractors know how to correctly manipulate and work over key areas of the body to help provide relief and release pressure on certain parts to help ease the pain. Stress and tension on ligaments, muscles, nerves, and joints can have a significant impact on how much pain and discomfort a pregnant woman experiences.

3. Chiropractic treatments can sometimes help alleviate nausea.

Nausea or morning sickness during pregnancy can be uncomfortable, distressing, and challenging to work through for busy women. It’s also very common, with up to 70% of women experiencing morning sickness during their pregnancy. It predominantly occurs during the earlier months, in the first trimester. By manipulating the spine and working the nervous system, some patients experience a better hormonal balance that alleviates morning sickness.

4. A healthier body means a healthier pregnancy.

Chiropractic care is known to help with a wide array of issues, including alleviating pain, providing relief from headaches, helping with joint pain and stiffness, lower stress and anxiety levels, boost immune responses in the body, and promote flexibility and mobility. All of these conditions help promote a healthier “you,” which in turn promotes a healthier pregnancy. Stress and anxiety can cause significant complications in pregnancy, immobility and stiffness are hard on the body, and having a strong immune system is essential to protect both mother and baby. When a pregnant mother is healthier during her pregnancy, she has an easier time carrying her baby and is likely to experience far fewer complications.

It’s always essential to speak to your personal doctor before seeking out chiropractic treatment. Unusual or complicated pregnancies might require different treatments. But if you’re healthy and your doctor gives you the go-ahead, finding chiropractic care can provide tremendous benefits to both you and your baby!

5. Chiropractic care will balance out the pelvis during pregnancy

What this means for the mother is less discomfort during pregnancy, meaning less back pain, hip pain, sciatica or pubic bone pain. What this means for the baby is that there is more room for the baby to grow and freely move around, preventing intrauterine constraint (which can lead to potential structural defects in the newborn). Less stress on the mother’s body means less nerve interference allowing baby to grow optimally as well. Lastly a balanced pelvis will optimize the passageway for the newborn to exit during labor. Think of a round peg trying to fit into an oval opening, that is not the most optimal way to get something out.

Dr. Palmes is Webster certified through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, a specialized technique for expectant mothers.