Pregnancy is a special time in every couple’s life. Having a baby is an emotional rollercoaster. Joy, happiness, anticipation, and excitement are all part of the process, but the process of how an expecting mom’s body changes over the course of her pregnancy is a different story. For most women, these changes result in lower back, hip and pelvic pain. Over 90% of women will experience low back and pelvic pain during pregnancy with one third of these women describing the pain as severe.1 Over half of women with back pain during pregnancy will continue to have back pain after pregnancy. Chiropractic is a safe, drug-free, and effective method to treat common musculoskeletal symptoms, ensure a comfortable pregnancy and facilitate a uncomplicated labor and delivery.2
Your body goes through so many changes over the course of a pregnancy, the most noticeable one being the weight gain.2 The body’s load distribution changes within the motion segments of the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joints as the stomach grows, which can lead to spinal dysfunction and thus, lower back pain.2 The protruding abdomen leads to an increased inward curve of the lower back and additional postural changes, leading to an anterior shift in one’s center of gravity.3 As the fetus continues to grow, it puts pressure on the lumbosacral nerve roots and can potentially compress the sciatic nerve, which leads to lower back pain with radiation into the legs.2,3
Drastic hormone changes occur during pregnancy that affect a woman’s musculoskeletal system. The increase in the relaxin hormone loosens the ligaments of the pelvis and spine to allow for movement of the joints.3 The instability and loosening of these ligaments can bring about pelvic hypermobility and decreases spinal stabilization which can cause back and sciatica pain.
Benefits of Chiropractic
Going through three trimesters and nearly ten full months of carrying a baby is a long, long, long time. Even just a few months can seem like an eternity if you’re a mom dealing with pregnancy-related low back pain. We’ve got great news for you - it doesn’t need to be that way! Chiropractic care has helped millions of expecting mothers feel better than ever - before, during and after their pregnancies.
In a study of 400 women who received chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy, 84% of patients reported that getting adjusted provided them with relief from their back pain.2 Another study on pregnant women receiving chiropractic care found that patients found pain relief on average 4.5 days after their first treatment and achieved substantial relief after 1.8 treatments.2 No adverse effects were reported in this study.2 It’s also been reported that there may be a link between back pain and longer labor.2 A review of statistics was performed to investigate this link and the results were shocking! On average, first-time moms who received chiropractic care throughout their pregnancies had a 25% shorter labor time and multiparous moms had a 31% shorter labor time.2 In short, chiropractic care can aid in maintaining a healthy pregnancy, reducing the time of labor and delivery, and relieves neck, back, and joint pain.4
How it Works
Chiropractic care maintains the health of the spine, discs, and related nerves through the adjustment of misaligned joints in the body to reduce spinal nerve stress and optimize health.4 That is a fancy way of saying they adjust joints in your body to maintain optimal health through nervous system communication pathways. “The nervous system is the master communication system to all the body systems including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively.”4
Chiropractic care is a highly safe and effective evidence-based option for pregnant women suffering from mechanical low back and pelvic pain. The root cause of much pelvic pain during pregnancy stems from the low back or sacral joints. A chiropractor trained in treating pregnant women can easily identify the specific muscles that need to be released to decrease mechanical pain.5 Gentle myofascial relaxation of specific muscles can greatly aid in the reduction of pain and tension.2
Sometimes a specific adjustment called the Webster Technique is used on pregnant patients to correct potential musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint.2 Using this technique, the chiropractor aims to balance the pelvis as well as any corresponding muscles and ligaments to remove the constraint to the patient’s uterus.2 This allows more room for the fetus to assume the correct position. However, at no point does the doctor himself try to flip the baby; he simply attempts to create room for the baby to flip herself.2 It’s been reported that using the Webster Technique, chiropractors have been successful in relieving the restraints contributing to the malpositioning of the fetus and 92% of cases resulted in a resolution of the breech position.2 In short, the adjustment of a woman’s pelvis and the attached ligaments can reduce stress on the uterus as it grows, making for a much more comfortable pregnancy for mom, as well as more room for baby to grow and move into an ideal position for birth.
In addition to the adjustments, therapeutic exercises are often prescribed to pregnant patients. “It has been reported that women who exercise during pregnancy are likely to have more energy, fewer mood swings, better able to manage stress, and get more sleep compared with sedentary pregnant women.”6 When patients follow their at-home exercise routine at the recommended frequency they find their condition improves and it’s easier to do activities required in daily life.6 Even with all the changes that occur in a woman’s body during pregnancy, what doesn’t change is her daily responsibilities. Staying active and pain-free is essential for most women, especially knowing they can’t put the brakes on their lives just because they’re pregnant.
Create an All-Star Prenatal Team
Midwives, doulas, and OB-GYN’s can all be important during pregnancy. Each has a unique role to play, whether that’s support, education, or even delivery. Your prenatal team is there to make sure you have a safe and memorable birth experience, and when it comes to relieving pregnancy-related back pain, there is no better choice than a chiropractor. Chiropractors around the world work hand in hand with midwives, doulas, and OB-GYNs. Their role is to help an expecting mom stay active, pain-free, and as comfortable as possible both before and after her delivery.
Here at Carney Chiropractic Center, we value patient education. Our team strives to educate patients throughout their treatment plan to help them better understand what’s going on within their bodies so they can make informed and educated decisions regarding their health. This allows them to better communicate this information with the additional providers in their prenatal team during birth, pregnancy, and postpartum.3 Studies have found that a multimodal approach to the care of pregnant patients suffering from low back and pelvic pain is more effective and benefits patients more than standard obstetric care alone.7
So You Had The Baby. What’s Next?
After delivery, some of the problems that arose during pregnancy may disappear, while others may continue to linger and new ones arrive. Continued chiropractic care aids the body’s natural ability to heal itself and assists in proper restoration of normal spinal biomechanics.2 Additional rehabilitative exercises are prescribed to patients postpartum to help strengthen weakened spinal and abdominal muscles.2 Having a newborn puts additional stress on your thoracic spine and neck from breastfeeding and the constant holding and rocking and looking down at that precious baby.
Chiropractic isn’t just beneficial to the mom’s healing process - we recommend bringing your newborn in as well! The spine can be shifted out of alignment while your child is still in the womb if the baby gets stuck in the same position for a prolonged period of time.9 Additionally, the normal birthing process can potentially be a trauma to an infant’s spine.2 Pediatric chiropractic care can help take the tension off from day one, allowing for optimal growth and development of the baby’s nervous system.8 It helps relieve a variety of symptoms associated with colic, torticollis, reflux, constipation, tongue ties, ear infections, bedwetting, speech delays, sleep issues, attention problems, asthma, allergies, and more!
Getting your child adjusted in the first few weeks after birth makes for a happier and healthier baby, which makes for healthier parents as well! And no need to be concerned about safety - the adjustments for babies are so gentle and they often fall asleep as Dr. Loomis works on them as parents watch in amazement. And the cost? Many insurance plans cover pediatric adjustments as they have been well studied in research. But even if yours doesn’t, we have an affordable discount plan that can allow your baby to get adjusted for just $15! So do not put off your child’s best start in life - make your baby a well adjusted child today. To learn more about pediatric chiropractic care, check out our blog titled The Importance of Chiropractic for Kids.
The earlier you get treatment the better. You would not start training for a marathon 3 weeks before when you suddenly realize you are not prepared for it and neither is the baby. The best births are those whose moms seek chiropractic care from the first trimester on. This sets the nervous system up for the best communication between mom and baby, and gives the physical space in the body for the baby to grow and move into an ideal position for birth.
Our Pregnancy and Chiropractic Story - https://carneychiro.com/our-story/
Pediatric Chiropractic Information - https://carneychiro.com/pediatric-chiropractic/
- Kruse, R.A., Gudavalli, S., and Cambron,, J. (2007). Chiropractic Treatment of a Pregnant Patient with Lumbar Radiculopathy. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 6. 153-158. Retrieved From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647097/
- Borggren, C.L. (2007) Pregnancy and Chiropractic: A Narrative Review of the Literature. Retrieved From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647084/
- Kochersberger, A. (2018, October 19) 5 Conditions Chiropractic Care Can Improve During Pregnancy. American Chiropractic Association. Retrieved From https://www.acatoday.org/News-Publications/Publications/ACA-Blogs/ArtMID/6925/ArticleID/394/5-Conditions-Chiropractic-Care-Can-Improve-During-Pregnancy
- American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.) Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy. Retrieved From https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/chiropractic-care-during-pregnancy/
- Oswald, C., Higgins, C.C., and Assimakopoulos, D. (2013, August). Optimizing Pain Relief During Pregnancy. Retrieved From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743693/
- Sadr, S., Pourkiani-Allah-Abad, N. & Stuber, K.J. The treatment experience of patients with low back pain during pregnancy and their chiropractors: a qualitative study. Chiropr Man Therap 20, 32 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1186/2045-709X-20-32
- George, J.W., Skaggs, C.D., Thompson, P.A., Nelson, D.M., Gavard, J.A., and Gross, G.A. (2012, February) A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing a Multimodal Intervention and Standard Obstetrics Care for Low Back and Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy. Retrieved From https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(12)01969-2/fulltext
- Shaw, G. (2016, April 19) Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic. Retrieved From https://www.acatoday.org/News-Publications/ACA-News-Archive/ArtMID/5721/ArticleID/165/Safety-and-Effectiveness-of-Pediatric-Chiropractic
Shaw, G. (2016, April 19) Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic. Retrieved From https://www.acatoday.org/News-Publications/ACA-News-Archive/ArtMID/5721/ArticleID/165/Safety-and-Effectiveness-of-Pediatric-Chiropractic