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Pregnancy and Chiropractic: What to Do When You’re Expecting

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Chiropractic care is important for your body’s ability to be healthy, by working with the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Chiropractors work to correct spinal, pelvic and cranial misalignments, which contribute to creating an imbalance in the muscles and ligaments in the body. This can lead to stress on the nervous system and prevent the body from functioning properly.
Chiropractic care is particularly important during pregnancy. A woman’s body undergoes many physical changes during the course of pregnancy and these can lead to subtle, yet dramatic, changes in the musculoskeletal system.  With weight gain and postural changes, low back and pelvic pain can occur. These stresses and strains can be reduced or relieved with chiropractic care. Another benefit is that many pregnant patients also report faster and more comfortable deliveries after chiropractic care.
A common complaint during pregnancy is having low back and pelvic pain, which can result in sleep disturbances and pain during activities of daily living. Many women assume that because they are pregnant and can’t take medication, they must just endure this pain untreated. Fortunately, there is an alternative.
Chiropractic during pregnancy can help alleviate many ailments that otherwise would go untreated during this sensitive time. These include:

  • Aiding in reducing low back pain
  • Aiding in reducing pelvic pain
  • Aiding in reducing upper back and neck pain
  • Helping to reduce morning sickness, heart burn and swollen feet/ankles
  • Reducing labour time and reducing the need for pain medication
  • Allowing for easier delivery
  • Reducing intrauterine constraint for optimal baby positioning

Prenatal chiropractic care uses safe, gentle and effective techniques that can help make a pregnancy more comfortable. The treatment is specialized specifically for the woman so that she feels comfortable and supported.
In a study by Diakow et al., 84% of women receiving spinal manipulative therapy (chiropractic care) reported relief of back pain during pregnancy. There was also significantly less likelihood of back labor. Therefore, getting treatment during pregnancy can help restore normal biomechanical function to the pelvis and facilitate a safer, easier birth in the future.
The Webster Technique is defined as a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that facilitates biomechanical balance in pelvic joints, muscles and ligaments. Especially during pregnancy, sacral misalignment can cause tightening and twisting of specific pelvic muscles and ligaments.  These tense muscles and ligaments constrain the uterus, which may prevent the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth. The Webster Technique may reduce the effects of intrauterine constraint, allowing the baby to get into the best possible position for birth.
Dr. Larry Webster discovered this technique as a safe means to restore proper pelvic balance and function for pregnant mothers. In expectant mothers presenting breech, there has been a reported success rate of >85% of the baby turning to the normal head down position. This technique has been successfully used in women whose babies present transverse and posterior as well.
This specific analysis and adjustment of the sacrum should be used throughout pregnancy. Pregnant mothers should have their spines and pelvis checked regularly throughout pregnancy, in order to optimize health benefits for both the mother and baby.
The mission is to use chiropractic care with the goal of having a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy and an easier and safer birth. With proper nutrition, exercise and regular chiropractic care, an expectant mother can help create the best opportunity for her baby.   Chiropractic helps women get well and stay well: before, during, and after their pregnancies.
Dr. Marlee Lameris, BSc., D.C.
Diakow et al. Back pain during pregnancy and labor. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1991 Feb;14(2):116-8.
International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Icpa4kids.org
Ohm, Jeanne. Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy for Safer, Easier Births. ICPA. June 2002. http://icpa4kids.org/Wellness-Articles/chiropractic-care-in-pregnancy-for-safer-easier-births.html
Ohm, J. The Webster Technique: A Chiropractic Technique. Journal Manipulative Physiol Therapy 2002 Jul-Aug 25(6): E1-9

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