Written by Martina Castelli & Patrick Terrein from Barcelona Chiropractic Center.
5 Reasons How Seeing a Chiropractor can Benefit You During Pregnancy
For those who are not familiar with chiropractic, it is a discipline that helps improve people’s health and increase their ability to integrate the different types of daily stress (chemical, physical, and emotional). A chiropractor’s main goal is to correct the potential interferences present in the spinal column and pelvis. By aligning these structures, the spinal cord and brain can freely communicate with the rest of the body and vice versa. Choosing chiropractic care during pregnancy is a life-changing choice.
1. Help your body through structural changes
Throughout pregnancy, the posture of a woman progressively changes to be able to make space and carry a baby. The pelvis and the neck shift forward, the upper back is more extended, the low back’s curve increases and the feet lose their natural arches. Because of hormonal changes, the ligaments become looser and the body is more flexible. Although these changes are a sign that your body is changing to best host a new life, they can also be responsible for the development of pain and discomfort during the months of gestation. With chiropractic, these changes can be facilitated with proper alignment, the body can be helped through this process and possible symptoms (such as low back pain, sciatic pain…) can be alleviated. With care, special attention is paid to the muscles, ligaments, and bones of the pelvis, but also to the transition areas of the spine (cervical-dorsal, dorsal-lumbar, lumbosacral), which are common sites of a complaint.
-The Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health found in 2006 that 69% percent of women experience low back pain during their pregnancy. The same study found that 94.1% of the participants did get relief from seeing a chiropractor .-
2. Help control nausea, heartburn and regulate bowel movement
Suffering from nausea is very common while pregnant, but luckily, this symptom is associated with a healthy pregnancy and is not harmful to the baby. Having said this, being nauseous is an uncomfortable feeling that can be hard to endure for the mother. The cause behind nausea during pregnancy is not completely clear yet, however, it seems to be connected to hormonal changes (HCG, estrogen). Chiropractic care can help reduce nausea and vomiting by realigning the spine, improving the nervous system’s function, and achieving better hormonal balance. Chiropractic adjustments may also help with symptoms of heartburn and constipation. By working on the muscles and ligaments of the abdominal area such as the diaphragm, chiropractors are able to release pressure on the stomach and stimulate better intestinal movement (called peristalsis).
3. Reduced intrauterine constraint and optimal fetal positioning
The sacrum and the pelvis play a key role in how a baby lies in-utero. When these two structures are misaligned, the amount of room needed for proper development is reduced. In later stages, the baby will find it more difficult to move toward the best possible position for birth (head-down). A baby, who is not in a head-down position at the time of labor, is known to be in a breech position. Unfortunately, this can affect the mother’s ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth, and possibly lead to complications. Chiropractic can help greatly, by maintaining the pelvis and sacrum balanced and permitting the baby to move freely.
-The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in 2002 an 82% success rate of babies turning head-down when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique- .
4. Facilitation of labor
Regular chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy have been linked to shorter delivery times. Chiropractic has the capacity of easing the birth process and making it a more enjoyable experience for the mother. Evidence also suggests that chiropractic care leads to reduced use of analgesics during labor, allowing for a more natural and drug-free birth [9, 10].
5. Postpartum recuperation
Giving birth can be a beautiful experience. The entire process is however considerable physical stress. Postpartum chiropractic care can help new moms recover faster and better from these stresses placed on the muscles, joints, and ligaments. Emotional vulnerabilities can also arise after giving birth; chiropractic care can help boost your energy level and general mood. This way, mothers can devote themselves fully to their babies, and face challenges more comfortably.
1. 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
2. Pregnancy and chiropractic care. Penna M, American Chiropractic Association Journal of Chiropractic. Nov. 1989 p.31.
3. George JW, Skaggs CD, Thompson PA, Nelson DM, Gavard JA, Gross GA. A randomized controlled trial comparing a multimodal intervention and standard obstetrics for low back and pelvic pain in pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2013 Apr; 208(4):295.e1-7
4. Spinal adjustment appears to relax the pelvic floor muscles in pregnant women. Haavick et al. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2016 Jun;39(5):339-47
5. Stuber KJ, Smith DL. Chiropractic treatment of pregnancy-related low back pain: a systematic review of the evidence. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008;31(6):447‐454. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.06.009
6. American Pregnancy Association. Chiropractic care during pregnancy. Internet [Accessed 29 July 2020]. Available from: https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/chiropractic-care-during-pregnancy/
7. Lisi AJ. Chiropractic spinal manipulation for low back pain of pregnancy: a retrospective case series. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2006;51(1):e7‐e10. doi:10.1016/j.jmwh.2005.09.001
8. Pistolese RA. The Webster Technique: a chiropractic technique with obstetric implications. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2002;25(6):E1-E9.
9. AMA study shows that pregnant women under chiropractic care have easier pregnancy and delivery. American Medical Association records released in 1987 during trial in U.S. District Court Northern Illinois Eastern Division, No. 76C 3777.
10. Medical expert state that less painkillers needed during delivery if patient under chiropractic care. Freitag, P. Expert testimony of Pertag, M.D., Ph.D. comparing results of two neighboring hospitals. U.S. District Court Northern Illinois Eastern Division, No. 76C 3777, May 1987.