Prenatal Chiropractor – Your Pregnancy Chiropractic Care Guide
It’s no secret that the body necessarily changes during pregnancy. It’s also no secret that those changes often come with discomfort and pain. This is one of the many things a prenatal chiropractor can help with.
Seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy has many potential benefits. It can help reduce pain, ease muscle tension, and reduce stress. It can also help with things like pelvic pain, sciatica, and migraines. Plus, prenatal chiropractic care has been shown to be quite safe for both mother and baby.
Is a Chiropractor Safe During Pregnancy?
One of the most common and important questions pregnant patients ask involves the safety of the mother and the growing child. It’s generally considered safe to visit a chiropractor while pregnant. All licensed chiropractors have training in prenatal chiropractic practices, although some chiropractors specialize in this type of care more than others. It’s worth asking a chiropractor whether or not they regularly perform chiropractic care on pregnant women.
According to studies, there’s very little evidence to suggest that chiropractic care is unsafe during pregnancy. Adverse events, when they occur, are usually minor and short-lived.
Can a Chiropractor Cause a Miscarriage?
There’s no evidence to suggest that chiropractic care can cause a miscarriage. In fact, some chiropractic advocates suggest that chiropractic care can even help prevent a miscarriage.
However, most chiropractors will avoid performing certain spinal adjustments during the first trimester. This doesn’t mean that adjustments aren’t safe during the first trimester. The American Pregnancy Association considers chiropractic care safe during the entire pregnancy. Still, most women don’t experience joint, pelvic, and back pain until further into their pregnancy, anyway.
What to Expect From Your Prenatal Chiropractor
Before you receive any direct care from your chiropractor, he or she will want a detailed medical history from you. Once that is done, you’ll undergo an exam. Your blood pressure will be taken and the doctor of chiropractic will check for swelling or signs of edema and Preeclampsia.
Then the doctor of chiropractic will formulate a course of treatment specifically designed for you and for those hurdles you may experience during the course of your pregnancy.
There are some common issues that many women experience during pregnancy. Your chiropractor may start addressing these issues right away if it’s appropriate. Some common problems include sciatic nerve pain, posture adjustments, joint pain, lumbar pain, and pelvic changes.
It’s common for your chiropractor to work with your physician or obstetrician to give you the best care possible. Since chiropractic care is non-invasive and drug-free, you can expect safe, natural care that is aimed at keeping you healthy and relatively pain-free during the course of your pregnancy, while paying close attention to your baby-to-be.
Pregnancy Chiropractic Method
As you can probably guess, chiropractors must make certain adjustments in order to help pregnant women. Obviously, lying on your belly to receive a prenatal massage or a spinal adjustment wouldn’t be ideal or safe.
This is why some chiropractors have special tables designed for pregnant patients. More often, though, you’ll lie comfortably on your side while the chiropractor works to relieve pain or adjust your spine and other joints.
The Webster Technique
One of the often-utilized chiropractic methods for pregnant women is called the Webster Technique. This method focuses on the pelvis, sacrum, and the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around that area.
The overall goal of the Webster Technique is to make room for the uterus and allow the fetus to get in the best position possible for a smooth, safe birth. It involves adjusting misalignments and preventing the instance of breech birth.
One small survey found that the Webster Technique was found to be 92% successful in correcting feet-first birth presentations.
Benefits of Prenatal Chiropractic
The benefits of prenatal chiropractic far outweigh the danger or drawbacks. There are many potential benefits, including:
- Spinal Adjustments
- As the fetus grows, it’s common for mothers-to-be to experience an increased curvature of the back, which can cause pain and complications during and after pregnancy. Chiropractic care can help this.
- Sciatica Pain
- It’s common for pregnant women to have sciatica or sciatica-like symptoms. Luckily, chiropractic care can provide pregnancy sciatica relief through adjustments, massage, and anti-inflammation techniques.
- Pain Relief
- Many people assume that pain is a natural byproduct of pregnancy. While some pain may be unavoidable, you don’t have to experience chronic pain during your pregnancy. Chiropractic care provides pain relief during pregnancy. One small study found that 94% of patients reported significant pain relief after an average of 2 visits.
- Migraine Relief
- Managing migraines during pregnancy can prove difficult for many women. Chiropractic care’s drug-free approach to migraine management has helped many women better manage their migraine headaches and is safe during pregnancy.
- Stress Reduction and Relaxation
- Pregnancy can be a stressful time for expectant mothers and their partners. Chiropractic massage can help. Prenatal massage is safe and can help balance hormones in the body that help regulate stress responses. Even one massage a week can help relieve pain and reduce stress.
- Benefits Both Mother and Fetus
- When the mother is healthy and stress-free, the fetus is generally healthier. The Webster technique mentioned above can help prevent or correct breech position. It can also help relieve pelvic and low-back pain. Chiropractors can also help with lifestyle tips, nutrition advice, and ergonomics to reduce and prevent pain.
- Other Potential Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
- Reducing nausea
- Reducing pain without the need for dangerous medications
- Making for easier delivery and reducing delivery time
- Reducing incontinence
Dangers of Prenatal Chiropractic
The most common dangers involved with prenatal chiropractic care involve temporary pain or discomfort immediately following an adjustment. And, although chiropractic care can help with nausea, some women may experience more nausea following an adjustment.
These adverse effects are fairly rare. There are some things that you should look out for before seeking chiropractic care. You should not see a chiropractor if you experience any of the following.
- Vaginal bleeding
- Severe and sudden swelling
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Placenta abruption
- Placenta previa
It’s always a good idea to consult with your OB/GYN before seeing a chiropractor. And always share any symptoms you’re experiencing with your chiropractor before your adjustment.
When to Start Going to the Chiropractor When Pregnant
Many women who have already been seeing a chiropractor simply continue to see them after they get pregnant. Others decide to go to a chiropractor during the first trimester. Still others only go when they start experiencing joint pain, posture issues, or back pain.
When you go to a chiropractor depends on how you feel and what your obstetrician thinks will benefit you. However, getting to know your chiropractor and allowing him or her to get to know you will likely benefit you during the course of your pregnancy. Early care may also help you prevent some issues and proactively prepare for the changes your body will undergo during pregnancy.
How Often to See a Chiropractor During Pregnancy?
How often you visit the chiropractor depends on how you feel. If you have been dealing with back pain or other symptoms before the pregnancy, you may want to go once or twice a week. Most women go once or twice a month during their first trimester and then increase the frequency as the pregnancy continues.
For best results, seeing a chiropractor once or twice a week during your pregnancy is recommended.
Chiropractor After Pregnancy
It’s common to experience back pain after pregnancy. In fact, some women suffer back pain for up to six months after they’ve given birth. This is often due to the body re-adjusting after the pregnancy. For this and many other reasons, chiropractic care can continue to be beneficial even after the pregnancy. It’s common for new mothers to have less-than-ideal posture. They often try to do too much before their body is ready, including lifting and holding their new baby with poor posture.
Chiropractic care can help with postpartum back pain in a few different ways:
- Posture adjustments and tips
- Spinal adjustments
- Hip and pelvic adjustments
- Pain relief modalities
- Massage therapy
- Core exercises
- Nutrition and weight loss tips
Prenatal Chiropractic Covered by Medicaid?
Because Medicaid coverage varies widely from state to state, it’s best to check with your state’s coverage and your specific plan. Some states may cover chiropractic adjustments but not prenatal massage while others states may cover both.
If you’re not covered, we provide plenty of payment options for all types of chiropractic care
Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy: Conclusion
Whether you’re in your third trimester or you just found out you’re pregnant, chiropractic care can help you. It’s a safe, non-invasive option that has numerous benefits for both mother and child.
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About the Author
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.
Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.