Can Pregnant Women Benefit from Chiropractic Adjustments?

Learn about chiropractic adjustment during pregnancy from Dr. Karen Erickson in this Howcast video.

Pregnancy is such an exciting and miraculous time, and chiropractic care can help so many women during pregnancy. There are many changes that occur in your body during pregnancy. Namely, as your uterus gets larger it’s pulling forward and putting a lot of stress on your low back and your thoracic spine, even your neck and shoulders. As the baby gets larger it pushes up on your diaphragm as well.

The common conditions that we see are low back pain. We also see a lot of restriction in the thoracic spine between the shoulder blades and around the diaphragm, and a lot of neck and shoulder strain just from the extra weight bearing. One of the reasons we see these problems is that during pregnancy the hormones cause the ligaments to become more relaxed. They allow the joints to be more flexible, but they can also let the joints become a little bit more unstable.

So, in addition to the spinal things that we talked about we will also sometimes see ligament laxity in the carpal joint, and it’s not uncommon for women to develop carpal tunnel at the end of pregnancy. This may continue while they’re taking care of their baby for the first few months. Chiropractic care is really effective for carpal tunnel syndrome.

We also can very effectively take care of a lot of the musculoskeletal symptoms that women are having. Remember, this is a time, during pregnancy, where X-rays, MRI’s, and medications are really completely contraindicated. With the exception of some kind of severe trauma none of those tests are to be done during pregnancy.

Chiropractic is extremely safe and is extremely effective for pregnant women. We do very thorough exams and case histories. The adjustments we do are gentle and specific to restore the normal alignment of the pelvis. There are some specific chiropractic techniques that are designed particularly for pregnant women that are very safe and effective, either using special wedges that go under the pelvis to re-balance the pelvis or another technique called Webster technique. There are chiropractors certified in Webster that very gently work on the ligaments and the pelvic alignment so that there’s a lot of ease as the baby grows and the uterus can grow symmetrically.

There has been a misunderstanding with some OB’s thinking that chiropractors were turning babies that were breech, and this is not true. Chiropractors never turn babies. That’s an obstetrical procedure. We don’t do that. All we do is make very gentle contact with the ligaments around the pelvis so that the pelvis can stay aligned and the soft tissue within the pelvis can be as flexible as possible so that the baby can find its own optimal position. But we do not contact the baby in any way or turn the baby directly at all.

So, chiropractic care is safe and effective for women right up until they go into labor. We’ve worked on people who were having back pain. We’ve gotten them out of back pain, and then like the next day they went into labor and had a normal delivery. So, it’s really a wonderful thing to experience when you’re pregnant to feel that sense of relaxation and that sense of wellness in your body right up until you give birth.