Can You See A Chiropractor When You’re Pregnant?
Q: Can I get adjusted while I’m pregnant?
Good news, moms-to-be suffering with back, neck and hip pain: not only is it totally safe to visit a chiropractor during your pregnancy, it’s also hugely beneficial.
While pregnancy is one of the most joyous, exciting times in an expectant mom’s life, the whirlwind of changes that happen during pregnancy can wreak havoc on a mom-to-be’s body. Weight-bearing joints and regions of the spine, specifically the lower back and neck, tend to be the areas that suffer the most. A recent study found that 76% of women suffer from low back and pelvic pain during pregnancy – but only 21% of those actually seek out relief.
That’s why more and more OBGYNS are recommending their patients add chiropractors to their prenatal care team. In fact, 40% of obstetricians report referring their pregnant patients to chiropractors last year. When it comes to relieving pregnancy-related back and joint pain, there’s no better choice than your chiropractor.
Plus, proactively taking care of the musculoskeletal system before you give birth can minimize problems during labor – preventing potential C-sections – and has even been shown to reduce the amount of time spent in labor. First-time expecting mothers who receive regular chiropractic care throughout pregnancy have, on average, a 25% shorter delivery, whereas multiparous women (moms who have delivered two or more times) have their labor time reduced by 31%.
So the answer is yes, if you’re dealing with back pain or neck pain or knee pain or carpal tunnel syndrome due to pregnancy, make an appointment and get adjusted. You’ll be happy you did: most of the musculoskeletal pains associated with pregnancy are 100% treatable.
Now that that question’s been answered, here’s some more essential pregnancy Q & A’s an OBGYN friend shared recently.
Why make your chiropractor part of your team?
Chiropractic care keeps your spine and pelvis in proper alignment and balance. The weight gain a woman’s body experiences during pregnancy adds a ton of stress to a woman’s frame in a short amount of time.
This extra stress on the spine, combined with the ligament laxity caused by the increased circulating levels of progesterone, estrogen and relaxin hormones during pregnancy, makes it easy for joints to shift and misalign.
And ask any pregnant woman: the pain caused by these misalignments can be quite severe. The good news is that chiropractic care during pregnancy helps to keep the spine in proper alignment and the supporting muscles, tendons and ligaments to be better prepared to handle the extra weight. In fact, 94% of pregnant women report significant pain relief within four days of beginning chiropractic care!
Plus, literally every pregnant patient comments on how nice it is to finally lay face-down on support cushions specifically made to accommodate their chest and belly – often for the first time in months!
“So… which of my pains can you actually help?”
While we’re not going to be able to solve every pregnancy-related discomfort – you’re on your own with the nausea and morning sickness – if it’s a musculoskeletal problem caused by the biomechanical changes that happen during pregnancy, we’ll probably be able to help. (Quick Tip: if you are dealing with morning sickness, these FDA-approved, clinically-trialled e-stim bands work extremely well.)
These are the most common reasons OBGYN’s refer patients to us:
1. Low Back Pain
Low back pain during pregnancy is caused by increased stress on the lumbar spine by a forward shift in the center of gravity. Compensatory muscle tightness and altered gait patterns also contribute, and this pain ranges from mild to severe depending on the patient’s activity level, daily activities and work duties. And it doesn’t just end when you’ve given birth – low back pain is also incredibly common during the postpartum period (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!).
2. Sciatic Nerve Pain
Hypertonicity in the gluteal muscles and deep external rotators can irritate or compress the sciatic nerve during pregnancy. To make matters worse, the baby’s growth can cause both uterine pressure on surrounding vasculature and/or direct compression on the sciatic nerve, leading to low back pain with radiation into the legs.
3. Sacroiliac Pain
Ligament laxity during pregnancy allows the weight-bearing sacroiliac joints to move and shift. This increased mobility puts stress on the surrounding ligaments and muscles. Patients sometimes incorrectly describe sacroiliac pain as hip pain – but make no mistake, if it’s at or just below your “back dimples”, it’s almost surely your sacroiliac joints and not your hips.
4. Pubic Symphysis Pain
During pregnancy, the hormones relaxin and progesterone allow the ligaments stabilizing the pubic symphysis joint to relax, move and separate. Also called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, or SPD, this condition causes a ton of pain and can severely limit mobility.
5. Round Ligament Pain
The round ligaments of the uterus contain contractile fibers that suspend and connect the uterus to the abdominal wall on either side. As the uterus grows, the round ligaments also stretch and can cause sharp pain on either side of the abdomen or at the attachment sites of these ligaments near the pubic bones.
Optimize your nervous system!
Finally, we’re also focused on proper nerve function, as inflamed joints can affect nearby nerves. During delivery, a compromised nervous system can lead to contractions that are ineffective and uncoordinated. By correcting musculoskeletal issues as they arise, we can help eliminate nerve irritation which in turn allow the uterine muscles to work as intended.
A major goal of chiropractic care is optimizing how your nervous system works, not just “cracking” joints.
The Ascent Chiropractic Difference
At Ascent Chiropractic we use gentle, low-force spinal adjustments when working with pregnant women. Due to the effects of hormonal changes during pregnancy, correcting misalignments in the joints of pregnant patients can be done with gentle, low-impact manipulations instead of the high-force, high-velocity adjustments usually associated with chiropractic care. We combine chiropractic care with soft tissue therapy, stretching, and exercise rehabilitation for safe, effective, natural relief.
And while we work closely with many Brookfield-area OBGYN’s (they love our low-force adjusting techniques), in Wisconsin patients do not require OB or PCP referrals to begin chiropractic care. Ready to start? To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.