Chiropractic care during pregnancy has been shown to be safe for both mother and foetus.1,2 As your pregnancy progresses there will be an increase in circulating hormones which cause significant muscle and ligament relaxation. In light of these changes your chiropractor will apply one of a number of gentle adjusting techniques designed to provide maximum comfort and safety for both the expectant mother and foetus.
At no time in a woman’s life is the incredible adaptive capacity of the human body more obvious than during pregnancy.
The physiological changes that accompany pregnancy are nothing short of amazing. Those changes are directed towards creating the optimal environment for the developing foetus. Unfortunately, as pregnancy progresses, some of the comforts afforded the foetus can compromise a mother’s spinal integrity. Furthermore, pregnancy is a dynamic process with numerous changes taking place within a relatively short span of time. These changes mean chiropractic check-ups, pre-pregnancy planning, proper nutrition, and regular exercise should be priorities for a mother to be.3
Chiropractic helps women to get well, stay well, and be at their best — before, during, and after pregnancy.
Common complaints during pregnancy
A percentage of women during pregnancy experience:
- Sciatica (pain into the buttock and down the leg)
- Low Back Pain
- Groin pain often known as osteitis pubis
Because of the high frequency many people have considered the above problems to be “normal” during pregnancy and just “expect to live with them”. Chiropractic can help offer relief in all of the above scenarios in most circumstances.
What are the benefits of having chiropractic care during pregnancy?
Clinical studies have now revealed a number of benefits to receiving chiropractic care before, during, and after pregnancy.
By reducing the effects of spinal joint dysfunction your chiropractor will strive to enable you to remain active throughout your pregnancy. It is now known that during a normal uncomplicated pregnancy, there is no need to restrict vigorous low impact activities (stretching, walking, swimming). In fact, it has been shown that keeping active during pregnancy has both short and long term positive implications for your baby. One study found that on-going exercise seemed to contribute to normal, on-time delivery.4 We also know that women who start, and maintain, a moderate weight bearing exercise program during early pregnancy, improve their likelihood of giving birth to a healthy and heavier baby.5 Moreover, babies of greater birth weight are more intelligent in adulthood.6
Another important study was conducted by Irvin Henderson MD, a member of the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees. The study concluded that women who received chiropractic care during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy were able to care and deliver with more comfort.7
Dr. Per Freitag MD, a well-known orthopaedic researcher, studied the effects of chiropractic adjustments on the delivery process. The study concluded that the need for analgesics during delivery was reduced by half in the pregnant patients who received chiropractic care.8
It has also been demonstrated that chiropractic care significantly reduces the average amount of time spent in labour. Research by Dr. Joan Fallon revealed a 24% reduction in the average labour time for those women giving birth for the first time who had received chiropractic care. Dr. Fallon’s research also revealed that labour times were 39% shorter for women who were delivering for the 2nd or 3rd time, and who were receiving chiropractic care.9
How Often Should I Receive Chiropractic Care During My Pregnancy?
The appropriate frequency of care varies from one individual to another for a number of reasons. However, during a non-complicated pregnancy the frequency of chiropractic care will be generally once a month.
With the right advice, a healthy lifestyle, and by having your spine and pelvis checked by your chiropractor, the challenges associated with pregnancy can be overcome.
In summary, chiropractic adjustments:
- May help you to remain more active throughout your pregnancy
- May help make the delivery more comfortable
- May help reduce the need for analgesics during pregnancy
- May help reduce the amount of time spent in labour
- Can be continued safely until the day of delivery.
Check out some exercises that may be beneficial for you during the pregnancy.
- Penna M. Pregnancy and chiropractic care. ACA J Chiro. 1989; 26: 31-33.
- Diakow P, Gadsby T, Gadsby J, et al. Back Pain During Pregnancy and Labour. JMPT. 1991; 14: 116-118.
- Levinson D. Chiropractic care and exercise: A winning formula for a healthy pregnancy. The American Chiropractor. 1995; 39: 10-12.
- Richards M, Hardy R, Kuh D, et al. Birth weight and cognitive function in British 1946 cohort: longitudinal based study. BMJ. 2001; 322: 199-203.
- Henderson, I. American Medical Association records released in 1987 during trial in U.S. District Court Northern Illinois Eastern Division, No. 76 C 3777, May 1987.
- Freitag P. Expert testimony of P. Freitag, M.D., Ph.D., Comparing the results of two neighbouring hospitals, U.S. District Court Northern Illinois Eastern Division, No. 76 C 3777, May 1987.
- Fallon, J. The Effects of Chiropractic Treatment on Pregnancy and Labour: A Comprehensive Study. Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic, 1991: 24-31.
- Hatch M, Levin B, Shu XO, et al. Maternal leisure-time exercise and timely delivery. American Journal of Public Health. 1998; 88: 1528-1533.
- Clapp F, Kim H, Burciu B, et al. Beginning regular exercise in pregnancy: effect on fetoplacental growth. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000; 183: 1484-1488.