Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is beautiful, yes, but it can also be a real pain in the butt…LITERALLY.  The back and glute pain are intense, especially near the end.   A few months into my first pregnancy, my doula (who also taught my birth classes) talked to me about finding a chiropractor.  To be honest, I ignored the suggestion at first.  I have suffered from back pain most of my life and over the last few years I have tried out 3 different chiropractors resulting in absolutely no pain reduction.  I never had any relief and wound up getting swindled into a bunch of supplements I didn’t need.  I concluded that chiropractic care just was not for me, that was until I started learning about the unique benefits of getting adjusted during pregnancy.  I found a chiropractor in Atlanta who had special qualifications to work with pregnant women and babies and I’ve been hooked ever since.

chiropractic pregnancy care
image by Shelby Gordon

Having a natural, intervention-free birth was (and still is) extremely important to me.  Before I even got pregnant with Lily, medication during childbirth scared me.  I’m not big on taking meds to begin with and I personally believe that childbirth is a natural life event that a woman’s body (MOST of the time) is capable of handling. Don’t misunderstand, there absolutely can be complications.  I have heard of some AWFUL, traumatic births and, of course, there is a real risk to the mother and baby.  Medication and interventions are there for a VERY good reason but as long as everything is moving smoothly, I know I can give birth my child without any help.  Mother’s bodies are incredible and are capable of so much. Unfortunately, so little information is given to pregnant women about their options during pregnancy and birth, which unfairly limits us.

What eventually really turned me on to chiropractic care was the research showing adjustments can improve your chances of having an intervention-free birth. Because your body is always changing during those 9 months of pregnancy, your body will more than likely end up out of alignment.  Keep in mind that not only are you gaining 20 plus pounds in a very short amount of time but your ligaments relax and spread, your feet may grow and/or become flatter, your center of gravity changes, you have 50% more blood volume, your uterus grows, and your pelvis separates/spreads.  Inevitably all of these changes will not only cause misalignments but also a heck of a lot of discomfort.  One of the biggest places you will notice changes and discomfort is in your pelvis and lower back.  I could actually feel the pain from my pubic bone loosening throughout both pregnancies. Pelvic balance is one of the biggest reasons I tell all of my mommy friends to seek out a chiropractor.  Getting regular adjustments will create more room in the pelvis for the developing child which in turn allows the baby to get in optimal, head-down positioning.  If your baby is in the right position and your pelvis and spine are aligned you are on a much better track for a smooth, fast delivery.  Yes, that’s right, it can actually result in a faster delivery!

Good news… If you’re already in the third trimester and your baby is breech, it’s not too late! Starting chiropractic care (even later in the pregnancy) can actually help your baby change positions.  A study showed an 82% success rate of babies turning head down when the Webster Technique was used on the pregnant mother.  What’s the Webster Technique? It is a special type of chiropractic care aiming to balance a mother’s pelvis during pregnancy. The chiropractors I have used are all Webster Certified and have advanced training to work with pregnant women and infants.  Luckily, you don’t have to do a ton of research to find out who has advanced training in your area.  The ICPA (international Chiropractic Pediatric Association)’s website has a “find a chiropractor” page where you can easily find a chiropractor with advanced training with pregnant women.  Just to reassure you, chiropractic care is ABSOLUTELY safe during pregnancy and your provider will use special techniques and pillows to accommodate your growing bump.

I have used Webster Certified chiropractors through both of my pregnancies and both of my babies have remained in the head-down, cephalic presentation the entire third trimester.  My labor from start to finish with Lily was 9 hours, only 3 of which were intense and I only pushed for less than 5 minutes (for you first time moms…that is really, really fast).  I was blessed to have an easy, natural, uncomplicated delivery and I truly believe chiropractic care had a LOT to do with it.  Of course, no one can guarantee that seeing a chiropractor will lead to a perfect delivery, but I think it’s really important for mothers to know their options and spend the time on self-care that can lead to a smoother trip for your baby.  I usually go once a week in the beginning of the pregnancy and twice a week toward the end. Many of the Webster Certified chiropractors will actually meet you at your home or hospital when you’re in labor for an adjustment!  Check with your insurance provider because often times your chiropractic visits will be covered!

I hope you find this information useful and as always, I’m so happy to answer any questions you have or to make suggestions!


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