Chiropractic and Pregnancy

Supporting Healthy Pregnancy and Natural Birth

What is chiropractic?

  • Chiropractic is a healthcare discipline that emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery.
  • The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health.

Why is chiropractic care important during my pregnancy?

Throughout the course of your pregnancy, there will be many physiological and hormonal changes as your body prepares for the birth of your baby:

  • Center of gravity moves forward increasing the lumbar curve and placing extra strain and force through the lumbar spinal joints.
  • The hormone relaxin loosens joints; increasing mobility and decreasing stability which creates aggravation of previous joint injuries and amplifies pelvic imbalances.
  • Growing baby and increased fetal movement creates expansion of lower rib cage which can be aggravating to mid back joints that connect to ribs.
  • Increased breast size to prepare for lactation adds additional strain to upper thoracic joints.
  • Modified gait becomes wide, creating a variation in skeletal joint and muscle mobility, aggravating the pelvic joints, hip joints and sciatic nerves.
  • Modified posture through shoulders to offset change in center of gravity causes loss of cervical curve leading to headaches.
  • Pelvic misalignment alters pelvic opening leading to intrauterine constraint and fetopelvic disproportion.

Chiropractic can help you better manage these changes as your pregnancy progresses.

What are the benefits of chiropractic prior to pregnancy?

  • Promotes regular menstrual cycles
  • Optimal uterine function
  • Prepares body for healthy implantation
  • Ensures proper nerve supply to reproductive organs

What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?

  • Detection, prevention and correction of fetal malposition
  • Reduction in preeclampsia
  • Less back labor
  • Reduced need for pain medication
  • Less back pain
  • Shorter labor times
  • More comfort while breastfeeding
  • Greater production of breastmilk
  • Less incidence of postpartum depression

In a hospital study that incorporated chiropractic adjustments during they pregnancy, there was a 50% decrease in the need for painkillers during delivery.

"Women who received chiropractic adjustments in their third trimester were able to carry and deliver their child with much more comfort"
- Irvin Hederson, MD

Is chiropractic safe for pregnant women?

  • Chiropractic is a non-invasive, drug-free discipline meaning that the risks associated with it are very low. Adverse events are very rare and your chiropractor will assess your individually for any risk before commencing care.
  • In general, there are no increased risks or side effects with chiropractic for pregnant women.
  • Your prenatal chiropractor may use special techniques or table modifications to avoid unnecessary pressure on the abdomen.

Are all chiropractors trained to work with pregnant women?

  • Yes! Chiropractors are all adequately trained to handle the needs of pregnancy; however some chiropractors have a special interest in serving pregnant women and have taken additional training.
  • Chiropractors with the designation CACCP, DACCP or Webster Certification have taken additional training and achieved certification through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA).

Can chiropractic help turn a breech baby?

  • Larry Webster, founder of the ICPA, developed a specific technique known as the "Webster Technique" which has been shown to allow for optimal fetal positioning during pregnancy.
  • A research study in 2002 showed a reported 92% success rate of babies turning to a vertex position following use of the Webster Technique by a chiropractor. The study also suggests that the Webster Technique may be beneficial to use in the 8th month of pregnancy when breech presentation is unlikely to spontaneously change and when external cephalic version technique is not effective.
  • The ICPA recommends that pregnant women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to achieve pelvic balance, giving babies a better chance of moving into a correct position for birth and avoiding potential posterior or breech positions. Optimal baby position at the time of birth also results in an easier labor and this safer delivery for both mother and baby.

Dr. Joan Fallon's study shows chiropractic care to significantly reduce labor time
for women who had care throughout their pregnancy.