Pregnancy is a wondrous time of life. A woman’s body undergoes many changes. In addition to the increasing belly size, however, muscles and ligaments have hormonal influences that help to prepare the body for birth. This means that as a woman has more weight to carry over the months of pregnancy, the body is actually less structurally supportive in some ways—and chiropractic care can help a woman maintain alignment as her body changes.
Special Techniques for Pregnant Women
Chiropractors have to ensure that they do not put excessive pressure on the abdomen of their pregnant clients. They often use tables to assist in their adjustments. Pregnant women may find that they need to come in for adjustments because their backs are more curved due to compensating for their increased abdominal size. The posture changes, as does the pelvis.
Chiropractic Care to Manage Pregnancy Discomfort
Chiropractors can help the pregnant client with some of the typical pregnancy complaints, such as nausea, back pain, and joint pain. As a result of the adjustments, the birth process may also be eased, reducing the risk of C-section or even a prolonged and painful delivery. Chiropractors can be a necessary part of the care team assisting the mother-to-be in her healthy pregnancy and birth.
Chiropractic Care to Help Childbirth
Not only is chiropractic care beneficial for the pregnant client’s comfort, but it can also assist in making the birth process easier. A properly aligned pelvis can make for a larger area for the baby to pass through (instead of intrauterine constraint, caused by misalignment). It also helps the baby align into a proper position for birth. This may reduce the risk of breech births or C-sections. In fact, there is a method, the “Webster Technique”, created by the ICPA founder, the late Larry Webster, D.C., which “is a chiropractic technique designed to relieve the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint”. This is not to change the position of the fetus, which would be an obstetric technique; instead, it helps to create a balanced pelvis. The Webster Technique was found to have an 82% success rate in a 2002 study.1
Finding the Right Chiropractor
According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are some chiropractors who specialize in pregnant clients, from prenatal to postnatal care. The certifications include the following: “DACCP – Diplomate with ICPA reflecting highest level of advanced training, CACCP – Certified with the ICPA reflecting advanced training, Member of ICPA reflecting special interest, and Webster Certified – trained to work specifically with pelvic balance in pregnancy”.2 The ICPA refers to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association whose “curriculum offers techniques and protocols of care for children and pregnant women”.3
Bottom Line Recommendation
With an average weight gain of 25-35 pounds, sciatic complaints, lower back pain, loosening ligaments, and physical stress that pregnancy causes, the American Chiropractic Association suggests that chiropractic care can be beneficial for women during pregnancy and after childbirth.4