Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is wellness care that focuses on the spinal column, discs, related nerves and bone structure without using medications or surgery. The practice uses the science of adjusting misaligned joints of the body in order to reduce spinal nerve stress and ultimately enhance health throughout the body.

Is chiropractic care safe during pregnancy?

Chiropractic treatments do not have any known problems associated with the care of women who are pregnant. Chiropractors receive training in their programs to learn how 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 specificaly work with breech positions

Chiropractors may use special 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 that are safe to use during pregnancy and compliment any adjustments made to your spine.

Why should I have chiropractic care during pregnancy?

Every woman will experience a variety of physiological and endocrinological changes during her pregnancy in preparation for creating the environment for the 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 the 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.
What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?

Chiropractic care during pregnancy may provide benefits for women who are pregnant. Some of the benefits that may be experienced include:

* Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
* Controlling symptoms of nausea
* Reducing the time of labor and delivery
* Relieving back, neck or joint pain
* Prevent a potential cesarean section

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 results from the study suggest that 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 that 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 and posterior 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 the mother and baby.

Your Next Steps:

* Talk to your health care provider regarding chiropractic care or other alternative interventions.
* Uninsured? Receive free info from the Maternity Card discount program for chiropractic care.

Talk to Your Health Care Provider:

As more women are seeking the benefits of chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, more health care providers are seeking trained doctors of chiropractic in their communities to refer their 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.

Last Updated: 10/2007

Compiled using information from the following sources:

International Chiropractic Pediatric Association,

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 25, July/August 2002.