How Seeing a Chiropractor Can Help YOU Have a Happy, Healthy Pregnancy and Birth

As a doula, I recommend chiropractic care to my clients for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Round ligament pain? Chiropractor. Breech baby? Chiropractor. Lower back and hips hurt so bad that you never want to be pregnant again?? See a chiropractor!!

Going to the chiropractor regularly in pregnancy can have a tremendous impact on how much a woman enjoys the nine months she carries her baby. Being proactive about making an appointment before she’s actually in pain will give even better results.

But not only do I recommend chiropractic care for pregnancy pain, but it is also important for optimal baby positioning which consequentially results in a smoother labor and delivery. So from the minute you get pregnant until you find out you’re in early labor, there are so many benefits of going to the chiropractor.

To find out more about this, I chatted with a local Chiropractor and former client of mine, Dr. Matthew Bennett. If you’re looking for a chiropractor in the Elkhart area, Dr. Bennett at the Schneider clinic is a great option! Let’s dig in to hear what he has to say.

First, can you tell us why pregnancy can be so painful for many women?

“Here is a list of changes that occur in the body causing discomfort and pain: (these are all things that chiropractic care can help)

  • Center of gravity moves forward increasing the lumbar curve and placing extra strain and force through the lumbar spine joints

  • Growing baby and increased fetal movement creates expansion of the lower rib cage which can be aggravating to the mid back joints that connect to the ribs

  • Increased breast size to prepare for lactation adds additional strain to upper thoracic joints

  • Modified gait becomes wide, creating a variation in skeletal joint and muscle mobility, aggravating the pelvic joints, hip joints and sciatic nerves

  • Modified posture through shoulder to offset change in center of gravity causes loss of cervical curve leading to headaches

  • Pelvic misalignments alters pelvic opening leading to intrauterine constraint and fetopelvic disproportion”

Of course, if you’re pregnant or ever have been, none of this really surprises you. As our bodies change every day throughout pregnancy, it’s common to feel like we just don’t have time to adjust, making everything hurt! Fortunately, chiropractors are there for you.

What are the benefits of seeing a chiropractor in pregnancy?

“There are many benefits of seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy, most commonly seen in our office is less pain and discomfort in the low back and hips. Women experience many postural, hormonal and structural changes during pregnancy that can cause pain and discomfort in the lower back and hips. Our goal is to help keep the mom comfortable while all of these changes are occuring. We want the pregnancy to be as easy and memorable for her as possible.

“Certain structural changes and misalignments can also pose a potential threat to the development of the baby. These misalignments, known as subluxations, can cause stress overload to the mother’s nervous system which can lead to health problems for the developing baby.

“Additionally, a spinal or pelvic misalignment gives the developing baby less room to grow, potentially causing the baby to be breech, resulting in a Cesarean delivery. One of the greatest benefits to receiving regular chiropractic adjustments is that a properly aligned and balanced pelvis allows more room and proper function for the baby to grow and develop, which improves the chances for a fast and easy delivery.

“A recent patient of mine had just a 4 hour labor and she was so thankful for chiropractic care during her pregnancy. Chiropractic care has been shown to decrease labor times by 24 percent in first births and up to 33 percent for second or third births! (Source: The effects of chiropractic treatment on pregnancy and labor: a comprehensive study. Fallon J. Proceedings of the world chiropractic congress. 1991; 24-31

So ladies, that’s less pain, a happier pregnancy, a healthier baby, more optimal fetal positioning and the potential for a faster labor. What’s not to love?

How Seeing a Chiropractor can help you Have a Happy Healthy Pregnancy and Birth

Are there benefits for women who are trying to get pregnant or who are already in the postpartum period?

“There are generally 4 Stages in childbearing, which warrant slightly different Chiropractic care and different things we are looking for. We progress through each stage and the treatments might differ slightly. Below I listed the 4 stages and what we work on and some of the benefits you can see at each stage.

  • Preconception

    • More regular menstrual cycle

    • Optimal uterine function

    • Prepares the body for healthy implantation

    • Ensures proper nerve supply to reproductive organs

  • Pregnancy

    • Balance, alignment and flexibility

    • Less morning sickness and nausea

    • Detection, prevention and correction of fetal malposition

    • Less back pain, neck pain and joint pain

  • Delivery

    • Shorter delivery times

    • Less traumatic births

    • Reduced need for pain medication

    • Decreased chance of a breech baby

    • Less risk of a Cesarean birth

  • Post Delivery

    • More comfort while breastfeeding

    • Greater production of breast milk

    • Less incidence of postpartum depression”

In other words, if a baby is in your future, or your present, or you already welcomed that baby, go to the chiropractor!

Chiropractors who practice on pregnant women often talk about the Webster Technique. Can you tell us more about what that is?

Webster Technique is a specific form of adjusting focusing on the sacrum (tailbone) and its connection with the pelvic bones. This technique works on the articulation between the sacrum and the pelvis known as the SI joint (sacroiliac joint). By correcting any subluxations in the SI joint there is a neuro-biomechanical feedback that can assist with difficult labor, uterine function, and baby mal-position. This is a very powerful technique to use while a woman is pregnant because ensuring the pelvis and sacrum are aligned and functioning correctly is crucial to baby development and growth.”

All of that to say, when you are looking for a chiropractor in pregnancy, be sure to ask if they practice the Webster technique. It’s a game changer.

How often should a pregnant woman see a chiropractor?

“It varies for each woman but usually we would start by seeing a mom in her 10th-20th weeks around 1-2x per week and then from 20th-30th weeks closer to 1x per week. As delivery gets closer we would go back up to 2x per week to make sure the pelvis is aligned properly for an easy delivery. But again if a mom is having significant pain we would probably see her more often to reduce the pain and get her more comfortable.”

As a doula, I have seen slight variations in this timeline but truly, the more you can make it to the chiropractor, the happier you will be. And check with your health insurance. Some cover the cost of chiropractic care as part of your prenatal claim!

Special thanks to Dr. Bennett of the Schneider Clinic for answering these questions for me. Wishing all of you mamas and mamas-to-be a happy, healthy, pain-free pregnancy!