During pregnancy, women’s bodies change rapidly. As the fetus grows, the body adjusts to carry to extra weight. To get support and relief from pain in the spine, women often seek help from chiropractors. But, how exactly can chiropractors help a woman during pregnancy?
If you are wondering if you can go to a chiropractor during your first trimester, then read on.
What Does a Chiropractor Do For Pregnancy?
Pregnant women have physical and hormonal changes that happen rapidly. Because of the pressure of the fetus and a shifting center of gravity, women have issues with their posture. Chiropractors can help prevent misalignments to the spine and pelvis.
During pregnancy, chiropractors make small adjustments that help women manage their pain. By adjusting the spine, chiropractors help women maintain balance in the spine and pelvis so they can carry their babies with better postural support.
When the pelvis is aligned, the growing baby has room. With misalignment, intrauterine constraint happens and this problem can cause birth defects. Proper alignment in the pelvis and spine also help ease delivery.
With proper alignment, babies are less likely to be in a breech position, which can result in a difficult delivery or a Caesarean section. Some studies show that chiropractic care can actually speed up delivery, thus reducing complications.
Studies show that chiropractic care during pregnancy helps women find more comfort during their pregnancy because it relieves discomfort in the areas of the body that experience pain: back, hips, joints, and neck. Chiropractic care also helps women avoid problems with nausea.
Benefits of Seeing a Chiropractor During Pregnancy
Pregnant women benefit from seeing a chiropractor. The benefits of seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy begin the moment they start their visits. Some chiropractors do more than adjust the body, as they offer nutritional counseling, exercise routines, and massage therapy, too.
Many women struggle with morning sickness or nausea, especially during their first trimester. Chiropractors adjust women’s bodies to improve their nervous systems and digestive systems. This results in less morning sickness, and other digestive issues like heartburn and constipation which happen later in the second and third trimesters.
Chiropractors also help reduce the time it takes to deliver the baby. With adjustments, the pelvis, spine, and hips are put into alignment so the baby has a clear path through the birth canal. This helps women deliver their babies faster and with less pain.
Pregnant women have issues with their joints and spine. During pregnancy, the joints relax to accommodate the growing belly. And, during delivery, relaxin – a hormone that relaxes the ligaments and joints – can encourage pain in the spine. Chiropractic adjustments can keep the spine in alignment and reduce the chances of pregnant women suffering from back pain and discomfort.
How Often Should a Pregnant Women Go to a Chiropractor?
As women move through their pregnancies, many chiropractors will recommend different numbers of treatments. During the first trimester, pregnant women might see their chiropractors once or twice per month. The recommended visits will depend on pre-existing conditions and issues with pain.
Once women move into the second and third trimesters, chiropractors will encourage them to come more often, possible twice a month or once per week. If you have been seeing a chiropractor prior to becoming pregnant, then there is no reason to stop seeing your chiropractor, unless you have risks that are exacerbated by adjustments.
Can Chiropractic Adjustments Cause Miscarriage or Early Labor?
According to studies on the subject, there have been a few cases where chiropractic adjustments can have a negative effect on pregnancy. Overall, the problems are very rare.
There are reasons why pregnant women should not see a chiropractor. Women who have histories of premature labor, placenta previa and/or abruption, ectopic pregnancies, and variations of toxemia should not get chiropractic adjustments. Other reasons to not see a chiropractor include cramping, sudden pelvic pain, ruptured amniotic membranes, and vaginal bleeding.
Before you see a chiropractor, you should talk to your health care provider. They will be able to tell you if you are a candidate for early labor or other pregnancy-related problems. Chiropractors treat the joints and spine, they are trained in the same way as a medical obstetrician or gynecologist.
What Trimester is the Best Time to Visit a Chiropractor?
Studies show that chiropractors can treat pregnant women during all of their trimesters. Chiropractic care can be preventative as well as reactive. So, going to the chiropractor early in pregnancy can help reduce pain and discomfort later in pregnancy.
It is best to see a chiropractor who specializes in treating and adjusting pregnant women because the techniques are different than those used for women who aren’t pregnant and for men. Chiropractors make many of their adjustments while women are lying on their sides rather than prone or supine. As women move through their trimesters, the positions they are in for adjustments change.
What Issues Can Chiropractors Improve During Pregnancy?
Women suffer from many issues during pregnancy, and studies show that chiropractic care treats several of them. Chiropractic care brings relief to nausea and back pain, but it also helps with more precise problems.
The lumbar spine is stressed because of the anterior shift in the back, so muscles tighten, and pain increases. Chiropractic care can relieve this type of pain.
Chiropractic care also helps bring relief from sciatic nerve pain and sacroiliac pain during pregnancy- which often shows up as hip pain. These are common problems for pregnant women. The glute muscles and the weight of the growing baby often compress the sciatic nerve and chiropractic care can open up the compressed area of the body.
Chiropractic care can also bring stability to the sacroiliac joints, which carry the burden of the added weight from the baby and shifted center of gravity.
The pubic symphysis and round ligaments near the uterus can be treated by a chiropractor. Relaxin causes the pubis to relax and reduce mobility and stability. Also, the round ligaments near the uterus stretch which leads to pregnant women experiencing abdominal pain. With chiropractic adjustments, these struggles can be relieved.
About the Author
Dr. Brent Wells is a licensed chiropractor who founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in 1998. He is currently leading 10,000 Alaskans to more active and pain-free lifestyles without drugs or invasive surgeries. He brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care in Juneau. Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.