Let me start by saying I’ve never been pregnant. But I recognize pregnancy is a unique season of life and it carries unique joys—and unique concerns. One concern is the health of the baby. Women go through extraordinary lengths to alter their lifestyle, diet, habits, etc in an effort to provide the best environment for this baby.
I’m often asked about chiropractic care during pregnancy. Chiropractic adjustments offer natural, safe treatment for back pain, carpel tunnel, headaches, and a plethora of other ailments. I think chiropractic care is one of the best ways to navigate how the body adapts to pregnancy, making the term far less painful and uncomfortable.
I recognize many MDs frown on chiropractic care. This is frustrating because I think women inherently trust that their doctor is working toward the same goals as them and so if chiropractic worked, the doctor would endorse it. Sadly, because the medical philosophy and chiropractic philosophy collide, that’s often not the case.
Chiro vs MD
Let’s start with a few facts. A chiropractor is required to complete more hours of training to graduate. I know that can come as a surprise because we are so medically minded we elevate those in the medical profession as the pinnacle of education. It’s simply not accurate.
I’m not here to disrespect medical doctors or the amount of work it takes to earn a degree. What I am saying is chiropractors have put in that amount of work–and more. The difference is in the philosophy of our study. Whereas a medical doctor studies disease and how to treat disease, a chiropractor studies health and how to keep the body from disease.
Chiropractic is preventative. Medicine is reactive. So, with this distinction in mind, let’s take a look at how that plays out.
MDs and Pregnancy
Thankfully, many MDs have stopped being hostile to the possibility that chiropractic care can help. To be honest, it’s more a resignation that chiropractic care “doesn’t hurt” than an admission to its proven ability to treat and heal health issues that the medical field would manage through prescriptions. Nonetheless, it provides some ray of hope, and, to a patient under the care of an MD, it serves as “permission” to investigate. (I hope that caused you to flinch. You don’t need “permission” from your MD to pursue the best options for your health.)
But even the most progressive doctors fall back to what they “know” when it comes to pregnancy. They recognize there’s a lot at stake—and it’s humbling to be trusted with the care of both mother and baby. I firmly believe it’s this respect for their patient and a safe delivery that causes many MDs to advise against something they don’t completely understand.
Chiropractors are forced to study the medical industry so we “hear” the same messages our clients are hearing. MDs don’t need to investigate or study chiropractic care. They can voice opinions without any investigation at all. So, they may not be informed about how chiropractic care can help a woman navigate the pain and discomfort of pregnancy. But chiropractic care has been proven to help ease back pain during pregnancy, reduce stress during pregnancy, and even help turn an infant who is breech—allowing for a natural, safe birth.
Chiropractic and Pregnancy
There are two types of chiropractic care that are extraordinarily beneficial to women who are pregnant. One is the Gonstead Method. The other is the Webster Technique.
Of all the methods of chiropractic care, the Gonstead method is the most difficult to master. The reason for that is that Gonstead is the most specific way to adjust the spine. A Gonstead chiropractor will focus only on the exact problem. It’s not a guessing game. We move specific vertebrae that are out of alignment and only those vertebrae.
This is important during pregnancy. The added weight in the abdomen as the child grows puts extra stress to the spine. The pressure in the lower back can exacerbate other problems, including sciatica or compromised discs. The Gonstead technique is able to target the misalignment in the pelvic girdle and restore the body to health in a way other methods don’t allow. This helps reduce back pain, provides maximum space for the baby, and even makes delivery faster and easier.
Additionally, a Gonstead chiropractor will have equipment in the office that makes getting a chiropractic adjustment much more comfortable for a woman who is pregnant. One example is the knee-chest table. The knee-chest table is beneficial during pregnancy because the shape of the table provides a comfortable opening for the belly while also delivering support in the mid-to-upper spine even in a late-term pregnancy. The table permits a woman to lie face down, sometimes for the first time in many months, which relieves the weight and the strain off the pelvic floor. The knee-chest table also allows the back to move into a natural arch position. The table provides all these benefits for the mother while also allowing for an adjustment with no pressure on the baby.
The Webster Technique is another way chiropractic care can help during pregnancy. The Webster Technique gives special attention to the sacrum and sacroiliac pain. By stabilizing this area of the body, the pelvis can come into proper alignment. A pelvis that is misaligned prohibits a baby’s maximum movement. This puts stress on the baby—but also on the mother, causing lower back pain and preventing her from relief, rest, and sleep.
When the pelvis is not aligned correctly, it restricts a baby’s ability to move around—and to get in the right position to exit. This is why the Webster Technique has earned the reputation for being the go-to natural method to turn a baby. It actually provides the room for the baby to turn itself naturally—with no harm to the mother or child.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
I think if women understood the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy, chiropractors would be able to open offices for an exclusive clientele—pregnant women only! Chiropractic care benefits everyone—male, female, young, or old. But because the body undergoes so much change so fast during pregnancy, the benefits are seen more obviously.
To list a few ways chiropractic adjustments help during pregnancy:
- Relieves pain in the neck
- Reduces pain in the back
- Reduces nausea
- Improves immune system
- Increases comfort
- Improves sleep
- Reduces bloating
- Improves carpel tunnel
- Treats headache pain
- Improves digestion
- Reduces labor discomfort
Chiropractic care offers safe, natural relief for symptoms many associate as the unavoidable side effects of pregnancy. But some of them are avoidable under chiropractic care. Just ask Tabitha.
As a running coach for Fleet Feet, Tabitha came to Precision Chiropractic because pain in her feet and back were preventing her from leading her running group. After only a few months, Tabitha felt great and was back to running. One day Tabitha came in with more good news. She was pregnant! Chiropractic adjustments minimized problems common with pregnancy, such as back pain, sciatica, pain in the neck and shoulders, and even carpal tunnel. Tabitha credits her care at Precision Chiropractic to getting her back to running and to helping make pregnancy more comfortable for her and the baby. Today, Momma and baby continue as patients and both are doing great.
If you’re pregnant or have a friend who is pregnant, refer them to a Gonstead Chiropractor who is also certified in the Webster Technique. If you’re in the Southpoint area of South Durham, give Precision Chiropractic a call at 919-794-4455 or schedule a time to come in to see me. I’m a Gonstead Chiropractor, certified in the Webster Technique, and my office is conveniently located at the intersection of Hope Valley Road and 54.