Pregnancy and Chiropractic

by Dr. Nathan Hinkeldey on March 14, 2013


Pregnant woman at work with laptop looking stressedAccording to the CDC there are 4,000,000 babies born in the U.S. each year. That’s roughly 11,000 births every single day. In most cases, pregnancy is an expected, natural, and joyous condition for healthy American women. Nonetheless, there are many questions, anxieties, and discomforts that come along with pregnancy and many first-time moms feel overwhelmed by the changes their body goes through during pregnancy. Compounding these challenges is the fact that, despite the best efforts of the medical community, there still exists a great deal of  myth and misinformation about pregnancy.

While limited space and abundant good sense prevents us from trying to debunk the full list of pregnancy myths, there are a couple of fictions that we deal with everyday in our Johnston chiropractic clinic and would thus like to address here. Those are:

  • Myth 1: Pain and discomfort is normal during pregnancy and just something an expectant mother must endure.
  • Myth 2: Pregnant women should not be treated by a chiropractor.

Now let’s get to the truth hidden behind each of those popular myths.

Myth 1: Pain is Just Part of Pregnancy

Given the rapid and extensive changes that a woman’s body goes through in a relatively short timespan during pregnancy, some discomfort is inevitable. Additionally, it’s in the best interest of the baby and mother to avoid even over-the-counter medications unless they are absolutely necessary. But that doesn’t mean that a pregnant woman has to just live with pain.

Of course, the best course of treatment is always to avoid or eliminate the source of the pain. As an example, headaches tend to be a common malady among pregnant women, and since popping a couple of pain relievers isn’t the best choice when pregnant, it’s worthwhile to understand some of the triggers that can cause headaches and then avoid them. The most common causes of headaches among pregnant women tend to be:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Low blood sugar
  • Dehydration
  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Stress (too many changes)

Some ways to counter those triggers include:

  • Practice good posture (especially during the third trimester)
  • Get plenty of rest and relaxation
  • Exercise
  • Eat well-balanced meals
  • Apply cold or heat packs to your head

Good information, to be sure, but it still leaves a couple of unanswered questions:

  1. What can I do if I’ve taken all the right steps and the pain persists?
  2. What about pain other than headaches, such as joint and muscle pain?

Well, the answer to these questions certainly isn’t “Live with it.” In fact, trying to do so can lead to undertreatment and a whole host of new complications and discomforts.

A better answer is to, first, talk to your doctor and, second, consider seeking chiropractic treatment.

Which brings us to…

Myth 2: Avoid Chiropractic Treatment During Pregnancy

Let’s get right to the point here: Chiropractic treatment is both safe and beneficial during pregnancy. Of course, what else would you expect a chiropractor to say? Fortunately, there is plenty of research and information that supports the efficacy of chiropractic treatment for pregnant women. One particularly thorough article from the American Pregnancy Association that cites many excellent sources on subject is available here.

Some of the potential benefits that this article points out include:

  • Pain relief without medication
  • 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 delivery

What Conditions Can Chiropractic Care Treat During Pregnancy?

Chiropractic care can assist in treating disc herniations, low back pain, sciatica, headaches, neck pain, and mid back pain. Other joints that may become painful during pregnancy include your feet, knees, and hips.

How Does Team Chiropractic & Rehab Treat Pregnant Women?

Treatment of pregnancy is like anything else, it is different for each person. Depending on your complaint, your treatment plan may consist of myofascial release/ muscle massage, stretching and strengthening protocols, and from time to time a light adjustment or manipulation. While each pregnancy and condition is different, it is likely that your condition will improve within 2-6 visits.

For more information and to see demonstrations of the actual techniques we use to treat women during pregnancy,  click here to watch our our exclusive video: Chiropractic Care For Expectant Mothers.

Of course, if you have questions about pregnancy pain and chiropractic care, please contact Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation. We look forward to answering your questions and helping you stay happy, healthy, and pain-free during your pregnancy.


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