Chiropractic care is the health maintenance of the spinal column, discs, related nerves and bone geometry without drugs or surgery. It involves the art and science of adjusting misaligned joints of the body, especially of the spine, which reduces spinal nerve stress and therefore promotes health throughout the body.
As more women seek the benefits of chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, more health-care providers are seeking trained doctors of chiropractic in their communities to refer pregnant patients to. Discuss these options with your health-care provider. If they are not yet familiar with chiropractic care in pregnancy, ask them to find out more about its many benefits. Most importantly, seek options that support your body's natural abilities to function and find a team of providers who are respectful of your choices.
- Is chiropractic care safe during pregnancy?
- Why should I have chiropractic care during pregnancy?
- What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?
- What about chiropractic care and breech deliveries?
1. Is chiropractic care safe during pregnancy?
There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. All chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant, and many have advanced training. Below represents designations of chiropractors who have taken advanced steps in working with infertility and pregnancy wellness.
- DACCP - Diplomate with ICPA reflecting highest level of advanced training
- FICPA - Fellow with ICPA reflecting advanced training
- Member of ICPA reflecting special interest
- Webster Certified - trained to specifically work with breech positions
Chiropractors who have been trained to work with pregnant women will use tables that adjust for a pregnant woman's body, and they will use techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen.
A chiropractor who is versed in the needs of women who are pregnant will also provide you with exercises and stretches which are safe to use during pregnancy and compliment any adjustments made to your spine.
2. Why should I have chiropractic care during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there are several physiological and endocrinological changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for your developing baby. The following changes could result in a misaligned spine or joint:
- protruding abdomen and increased back curve
- pelvic changes
- postural adaptations
Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for your developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery.
The nervous system is the master communication system to all the body systems including the reproductive system. Keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively.
3. What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?
Chiropractic care during pregnancy may provide the following benefits for pregnant women:
- maintaining a healthier pregnancy
- controlling symptoms of nausea
- increasing the likelihood of full-term delivery
- reducing the time of labor and delivery
- relieving back, neck or joint pain
- preventing potential cesarean section
4. What about chiropractic care and breech deliveries?
The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which enables chiropractors to establish balance in the pregnant woman's pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments.
This balanced state in the pelvis makes it easier for a breech baby to turn naturally. The technique is known as the Webster Technique. It is considered normal by some for a baby to present breech until the third trimester.
Most birth practitioners are not concerned with breech presentations until a patient is 37 weeks along. Approximately 4% of all pregnancies result in a breech presentation.
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported, in the July/August 2002 issue, an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique. Further, the study results suggest it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique as soon as the 8th month of pregnancy when a woman has a breech presentation.
Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, and the crisis and worry associated with breech? presentations may be avoided altogether.
Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for dystocia (difficult labor) and therefore results in easier and safer deliveries for both mother and baby.
Your Next Steps:
- find a Chiropractor in your area
- talk to your health-care provider regarding chiropractic care or other alternative interventions
- most private insurance plans cover chiropractic care
Information Obtained From The American Pregnancy Association