Why would you want to see a chiropractor during pregnancy? Today we’re going to dive into why your doctor may or may not recommend a chiropractor, but also the huge benefits of chiropractic care during your pregnancy for your pelvis, your spine and your body. Keep reading to find out more.
But first, how do I know all of this? Hi — I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I have talked to both chiropractors and patients who are seeing them to understand a bit more about how they can help (and how they often over-promise) what they can do.
I actually talked with a chiropractor on my podcast that you might enjoy listening to:
What is a prenatal chiropractor?
A prenatal chiropractor is a specialist who provides chiropractic care to pregnant women.
This type of care is based on the belief that misalignments in the ligaments surrounding the uterus can cause problems during pregnancy, such as back pain, breech babies, and difficulty delivering the baby. The Webster Technique is a specific type of chiropractic care that is often used by prenatal chiropractors to help align the pelvis and alleviate lower back pain. This technique is often used during the later stages of pregnancy when the baby is in the breech position. I have a whole post on symptoms of baby turning head down (instead of breech).
While every chiropractor is trained in some basic pregnancy information, you should look for a chiropractor trained in the Webster Technique. These people have an additional certification & training beyond what they’d normally learn in chiropractic school which can help with pelvic re-alignment and other issues related to pregnancy and labor and delivery.
What can I expect from a Webster Technique Chiropractic Visit?
When you visit a chiropractor for Webster Technique care, you should expect a thorough examination.
Your chiropractor will ask about your health history and symptoms, and then perform a physical exam. This may include tests of your range of motion and reflexes.
Once a diagnosis is made, your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan specifically for you. This may involve regular adjustments, exercises, and lifestyle changes (like how to move your body to do less damage to spine & pelvis during pregnancy).
Once they have a treatment plan they will often place you in positions to help achieve spinal alignment. They can do this through stretching, heat, and traditional chiropractic adjustments (often known as “cracking”). They will also likely book follow-up treatments as your body will continually change and adjust during you pregnancy.
If you’re wondering what this looks like on pregnant patients, check out that chiropractor that I had on my podcast, Dr Alyssa Hickey on Tiktok — she shares a lot of great info on there!
Pro Tip: While Chiropractors do have “Dr.” in front of their name, they are not a medical doctor and do not have the skills to provide medical prenatal care (or deliver babies).
My Doctor Recommended against a Chiropractic Visit
Your obstetrician may recommend not going to a chiropractor during your prenatal appointments if you ask about it.
This is due to a number of reasons:
- Often OB’s don’t want their patients seeing anyone outside their office due to control issues
- Some chiropractors really work outside the limits of where they are trained. Some not trained in the webster technique may use other techniques that are not as helpful (or sometimes safe) for pregnant patients.
Note: Your chiropractor might suggest herbal remedies or other “eastern” medicine during your visit. Some of these can be really harmful, and it is difficulty to tell how pure the treatment is. Most providers strongly discourage this, and it is often the reason that many providers don’t recommend seeing a chiropractor. If they do recommend a systemic treatment like this, please do discuss it with your provider before using it.
Many providers are also very careful of the use of your healthcare dollar, and will want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth from a provider (and often insurances don’t cover a chiropractic treatment).
It is very possible to see a chiropractor and not see a difference (but I think it’s worth a try if you find a good one).
Is it safe to go to a chiropractor during pregnancy?
I went to look for some studies about chiropractic care during pregnancy. I did see a literature review that showed it is generally safe to see a chiropractor during your pregnancy, but that there really weren’t very many studies, which is unfortunate.
If you feel like trying a chiropractor while pregnant, let’s way the risks vs the benefits:
Chiropractic During Pregnancy: Benefits & Risks
As with any thing during pregnancy you want to weigh the risks vs the benefits.
Risks of Pregnancy Chiropractic Care:
There are a few risks associated with pregnancy chiropractic care, but they are generally considered to be low. These risks include things like:
The possibility of the baby being born in a breech position — if somehow they adjust your pelvis incorrectly. However, lots of my own patients have had luck with a chiropractor turning their baby from a breech position (see below).
The possibility of the baby being born prematurely — them starting labor by one of their adjustments
The possibility of placental abruption (when the placenta detaches from the uterus) — again, from an adjustment gone wrong.
Honestly, I would think that most of these risks are almost negligible if you’re seeking quality chiropractic treatment (by someone trained in the Webster Technique). However, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider before beginning any chiropractic care during pregnancy. And, if you have any more high-risk issues like preterm labor, placenta previa (or a history of an abruption) make SURE that the chiropractor is aware before treating you.
If you’re seeking chiropractor care, consider if your ailments are related to your muscles and bones — if they think they are, they might be a good fit and worth a try to see if you can get more comfortable.
Your may actually have a provider they recommend, and that would be the best of all worlds!
Benefits of Prenatal Chiropractic Care
Honestly, the more I have looked into quality chiropractic care throughout your pregnancy I see SO many benefits.
A chiropractor is trained to treat the musculoskeletal system, and that system is just WRECKED with pregnancy. It really make sense that they’d be able to “fix” it with their skills. Here are some of the benefits I have seen:
Chiropractic care can help reposition the baby.
A chiropractor can help to realign a breech baby in the womb. This is done by gently manipulating the ligaments in the pelvic region, which helps to improve pelvic alignment. This can provide more space for the baby to move into the optimal position for delivery.
I have personally seen many patients who felt like their chiropractor was instrument in getting a breech baby to turn.
If it was me, and I had a breech baby at around 32 weeks I would 100% make a chiropractor visit.
And, I would think that chiropractic care throughout pregnancy could only help this make sure that baby is aligning well into your pelvis. I don’t think you need to wait until your third trimester to see them.
Many chiropractors tout that they are able to increase vaginal delivery rates by aligning your pelvis, which really makes sense to me.
Reduce lower back and hip pain naturally
One way to reduce lower back and hip pain naturally is to receive regular chiropractic care. This is because chiropractic care can help to realign the spine, which can often be the source of back pain. In addition, receiving regular chiropractic care can also help to prevent misalignment in the future. If you are experiencing back pain, consider making an appointment with a chiropractor.
Ease common pregnancy symptoms
This one is tougher, because some chiropractors will guarantee that they can help with things like vaginal bleeding, morning sickness or general pressure on the abdomen — and I think it’s really important that you remember they are treating your muscles and bones. So, they can help things that are based in that.
Things like low back pain, possible nerve stress, even forearm strain can possibly be helped by a chiropractor.
Things like symphysis pubis dysfunction (often called lightening crotch or your feel like your pelvis is splitting) can be helped with a chiropractor. At the very least I thin it would be worth it to see them for a visit to two to see if they help. If not, then it might not be worth your time.
I actually had a lot of foot pain during pregnancy, and they can help with that as well. Mine was rooted in my pelvis, so a good pelvic alignment would have helped a lot (and much better than my doctor saying “yeah, sometimes that happens”. All of those treatments ultimately also helped my tailbone pain.
Promote proper pelvic alignment and stability
As I said above, you might be surprised by how many of the aches and pains of pregnancy are based in pelvic balance, and changes in your center of gravity.
It can also just help you feel more sure on your feet. I often felt so out of balance during pregnancy with all the changes — and re-aligning things might help!
How Many Chiropractic Visits Will I Need?
This really varies — and you can always go for a few visits to see if you feel any difference (and if you don’t, there is no shame in not going back — you should have an idea that things are helping after a visit or two).
The problem with pregnancy is that your body is constantly changing and most chiropractors will suggest the use if chiropractic care through the remainder of your pregnancy. It should be something that you seek along your prenatal care. People see the most benefits when they use both chiropractic and medical care at the same time (one does not replace the other)– helping to promote a healthy pregnancy.
Chiropractic care can be part of your healthy pregnancy. It can be used to treat low back pain, and the us of chiropractic care is safe in pregnancy as long as you find a provider who is trained to treat pregnant women as pregnancy progresses.
Ok, that’s chiropractic care during pregnancy. Before you go, have you taken a prenatal class? The Online Prenatal Class for Couples is designed to get you BOTH prepared for a confident birth in just 3 hours. I’d love to see you inside!
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.