Adjustments for Two: Can I see a chiropractor while pregnant?

midwife measuring belly

Back pain is an inconvenience that often comes with the joy of expecting a baby. During pregnancy, the abdomen and pelvis undergo physiological changes to create the ideal environment for the developing baby. As pregnancy progresses, the body is also releasing a hormone called “relaxin,” which loosens ligaments that support the pelvis. This loosened state allows the pelvis to widen so the baby can pass through the birth canal. However, it also loosens the overall structure of the body, allowing misalignment in the bones of the spine, resulting in muscle spasms and nerve sensitivity.

Once this back pain is known to be caused by the pregnancy—and not related to any bleeding, spotting, unusual discharge, fever, or pain when passing urine—then it is ok to visit with a chiropractor. But it’s important to discuss your plans with your midwife!

Some chiropractors take a specific interest in prenatal and postnatal care, and get additional training. Chiropractors that have been trained to work with pregnant women may use tables that adjust for a pregnant woman’s body, as well as techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen. During the later part of pregnancy your midwife will determine the position of the baby, if the baby is found to be breech—when the baby’s buttocks are sitting in the pelvis—midwives often recommend chiropractor care in conjunction with specific exercises as a first step to encourage the baby to turn. Establishing pelvic balance and alignment can be managed by the chiropractor.

The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in its July/August 2002 issue that when chiropractic doctors used the “Webster Technique” to turn head-down babies, there was an 82% success rate.

Please speak with your Austin Area Birthing Center midwife at your next appointment if you are planning chiropractor treatment, to see if chiropractic treatment is appropriate for you. At AABC you will find plenty of business cards of chiropractors that clients have recommended!