How Chiropractic Can Help With Your Pregnancy and Birth

by Birth Without Fear on August 24, 2011

Pregnancy and Birthing Without FearMorning sickness. Vomiting. Nausea. Back pain. Pelvic pain. Shortness of breath. Hormones gone wild. High blood pressure. Swollen ankles.

These symptoms are seen as normal during pregnancy, something you better get used to for the next 38-42 weeks. You wanted a baby, now deal with it. Right?

Wrong. Sure these examples are common among pregnant women, but the intensity or even the presence of these symptoms will greatly diminish if under Chiropractic care.

Why?

As we established in previous posts, the nervous system controls all in your body. Under the direction of your body’s Innate Intelligence, the nervous system will adapt to the changes brought on by a growing new life inside of you. This new life you carry has its own Innate Intelligence that will do whatever it must to preserve the health and well being of itself. This will come at your expense, causing a number of deficiencies that your Innate Intelligence will have no choice but to adapt to.

The presence of a vertebral subluxation will interfere with the nervous system’s ability to communicate back and forth with the body. The subluxation will result in three things:

1.) Body Imbalance – a subluxation at your atlas will tilt your head to one side. Your brain has a reflex called the righting reflex which keeps your eyes level with the horizon. This will cause your lower cervical spine to bend the opposite way of your head tilt. To compensate, your thoracic spine will bend the opposite way, then the opposite way in the lumbar spine, resulting in one side of your pelvis being drawn up and causing one leg to appear shorter than the other, as well as an uneven distribution of weight putting undue stress on the joints. An unevenly aligned pelvis during pregnancy can be incredibly painful, as well as problematic for the baby trying to get into a proper birthing position.

chiropractic and pregnancy

2.) Nerve Tension or Pressure – Because of these compensations traveling down your spine, the muscles on one or both sides of your spine will become very tight, and inflammatory effects will take place and escalate in places of spinal misalignment. These changes will add stress to the nerves exiting your spinal column at some level, be it the nerve root or further along the distribution of the nerve. The nerves exiting your spine all lead to various parts of your body, including muscles, organs, glands, and blood vessels. Left alone and, over time, this nerve stress will lead to degeneration in these various body systems.

Chiropractic Pregnancy and Birth

3.) Brain Stem Tension or Pressure – A subluxation of your atlas (C1) vertebra will not only narrow the spinal canal in which the spinal cord travels down, but this narrowed space will result in an increase of pressure within this spinal canal. This added pressure will cause undue stress to the brain stem located just above the atlas.

If you remember Christopher Reeve, he shattered his atlas and nearly severed his spinal cord at the level of his axis (C2) vertebra. The brain stem is the Houston Control of your body, coordinating any and all communication from the brain to the body and vice versa. Because of an injury to this area near the brain stem, Christopher Reeve could not breathe on his own without a respirator and he eventually died of heart failure due to decreased brain stem function.

As you can see, the results of a vertebral subluxation do not equate to healthy changes in your body. Your Innate Intelligence can only do so much when given a limitation of matter. Add in a growing baby using up much of your body’s resources to survive and grow within you, and you can begin to see where a subluxation can wreak havoc on the health of a pregnant woman.

How?

The spinal compensations resulting from the subluxation may result in distorted pelvic positioning, causing the baby to get into an unfavorable position for birth, possibly breech. This unfavorable position could be adding increased pressure to your pelvic veins and vena cava (the large vein on the right side of your body carrying blood from the legs back up to the heart). This pressure could slow down the flow of blood back up to the heart, causing the blood to pool in your legs. This will only add to the swelling you might be experiencing in your ankles, as well as contributing to the increased risk of preeclampsia in your last trimester.

Blood Pressure in PregnancyThe nerve pressure and tension caused by the spinal compensations in the spine may lead to improper signals to be sent to various organs and tissues. Pressure and tension on the nerves in your mid to upper thoracic spine may lead to decreased function of the heart and/or lungs. This may result in an added shortness of breath. Or maybe high blood pressure, adding to that risk of preeclampsia.

Maybe pressure in the lower thoracic, lumbar, and sacral nerves results in decreased blood flow to organs such as your kidney and liver. This could result in decreased organ function, which may cause protein to leak into the urine, another sign of preeclampsia. Nerve tension in these lower spinal areas may result in a tight uterus, making you unable to relax during labor due to the pain you feel with each contraction. This might keep you from dilating properly, only adding to the stress a possible cesarean section can create.

A subluxation of your atlas will cause tension or pressure to the area of your brain stem. This tension or pressure will interfere with the brain stem’s ability to coordinate the messages being sent to the body by the brain. This could interfere with proper distribution of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Since the placenta is being developed with the help of estrogen and progesterone, a lessened amount of both these hormones may result in complications with the placenta, and therefore the growing baby inside that placenta.

As you can see, a vertebral subluxation is not a minor thing to ignore. Even the most seemingly insignificant of subluxations will always run some kind of interference to the brain-body communication. This is never a good thing, and especially not when you are pregnant and your body needs the most help and the least interference.

You deserve to have the best chance at a successful pregnancy and childbirth, and you can only do that with a nervous system that is running free and clear of interference.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Meredith August 26, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I completely believe in chiropractic. With my first pregnancy, I did not go like I should have and I had a few symptoms I feel I could have avoided. With this second pregnancy, I finally found a great chiropractor! Since I have been seeing him, I have had no heartburn (I had it HORRIBLY bad), and my left foot stopped swelling. It has been wonderful and I feel great!

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Arlington Heights Chiropractor September 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Women tell me all the time that they wish they would have known about chiropractic during pregnancy sooner. I help a lot of pregnant women who report that they have fewer aches and pains, an overall healthier pregnancy, and shorter labors and deliveries. AND it’s completely safe and natural! Thanks for the great explanation of how chiropractic helps in pregnancy!

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Crystal - Prenatal Coach October 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I’m a huge advocate of chiropractic in general for optimal health but I believe it’s especially important during preconception, pregnancy and for newborns & children. Women who are under chiropractic care experience less pregnancy ‘symptoms’ and generally have quicker and easier births. I’m 6 weeks pregnant and haven’t experienced any nausea or morning sickness. Chiropractic combined with a nutrient dense whole foods diet is my recipe for an easy and enjoyable pregnancy :-)

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Chef Edmund-Gelfman October 19, 2011 at 8:11 pm

As an expectant mom this is news to me, nonetheless, wonderful. The only thing I looked into now that I’m pregnant is prenatal yoga. Before reading this article I weren’t aware of the plus of receiving this care while pregnant. Thank you for sharing.

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Wendy October 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm

As a chiropractor, I thank you very much for sharing this information. We, as a profession, need to get the word out about the amazing health benefits of chiropractic care at all stages of life.

I had a patient who had been coming into the office after having difficulty trying to conceive, and got pregnant after a few months of adjustments (yay for removing interference to innate intelligence :D). She continued care throughout her pregnancy, and when the nurse teaching one of her prenatal classes said “Who here has back pain?” was the only one who didn’t raise her hand. The nurse asked her what she was doing differently, and my patient said “Getting regular chiropractic care!”. Great plug for our profession.

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Freehold NJ chiropractor December 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Great topic… so many women would benefit during pregnancy and also during the birthing of their child if they were under chiropractic. I help many of my patients and then we get their children adjusted as soon as possible after birth.

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Laura December 6, 2011 at 10:52 am

Recently I’ve been very curious about this– perhaps you can answer me, can chiropractic alignment affect nuechal and prolapsed cords. I have 6 babies and two of them had cord issues which made it neccessary to have c-sections. I’m 31 weeks pregnant with baby #7 and would love to try to prevent this problem from occuring again. 2 out of 6 seems like alot to me. I have been seeing a chiropracter for some ligament pain, and misaligned pelvis issues but was curious if more care closer to delivery would be beneficial as well.

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Heidi Roberts December 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I am the wife of a chiropractic student. I have PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome and had a hard time conceiving which took several years. My husband learned a new adjusting technique using Activator that is known to help with infertility and within a month of adjusting me with it about every other day or so, I became pregnant! I am now 17 weeks pregnant and am getting adjusted regularly. I am not having any problems or issues and am extremely happy!

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Palmer West Chiro Student December 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I am 2/3 of the way through chiropractic school and am 5 months pregnant with my second child. I have been getting adjusted weekly by my intern for the past 3 months and I am feeling so different than with my first pregnancy which was before I knew about chiropractic. I have a lot of ligamentous laxity (loose ligaments) that make my pelvis unstable and give me low back pain. I had a very rough time with it during my first pregnancy but my pain has been minimal to none this time around with my weekly chiropractic visits. I’m now thinking of specializing in prenatal and pediatric care because of the huge difference this has made! So many women would benefit if they knew what chiropractic could do for them!!

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Stephanie February 25, 2012 at 11:48 pm

So many people think that chiropractic care is just for after a car accident or when their back is hurting but it is SO much more. I have seen first hand the amazing benefits of chiro care during pregnancy and beyond. If you think about it, going to the chiropractor 2-4 times a month is a whole lot easier than fixing something that is already broken. Thanks so much for sharing!

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believer April 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I totally agree. with my last pregnancy the baby was sitting on a nerve that left me in so much pain to walk. i decided to go and get adjusted which was fantastic. My chiro also performed acupuncture which she used to help with the pain but also to induce my baby.
The very next day after having the acupuncture my baby engaged and arrived in a very systematic text book kinda of way. I was extremely fortunate.

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Dr. John Fedina April 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

It has been my honor and pleasure to care for expectant moms for 26 years now. Symptoms as mentioned plus many others, and have even worked on moms during the labor process. A true blessing to be a part of the birth process. When I was in practice in Maine, neighbors thought I was an OB and I had to set them straight. As was already stated by one doc, it is good to get the baby adjusted soon after the birth especially with difficult births. Great article, thanks doc, and thank you for printing it on this site.

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Bethany Learn - Fit2B Studio May 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I need to CONNECT with you because I want to know as much as I can about the role that posture plays in worsening a woman’s diastasis while pregnant. I’m sure you’ve heard of Katy Bowman of Restorative Exercise? Well, she has a lot of great stuff to say about how pregnancy doesn’t cause a split in the abs, or men and kids wouldn’t have diastasis, too! It’s all about alignment and posture as well as intra-abdominal pressure! I’d sure be delighted if you’d contact me through my site, Fit2B Studio, and share your thoughts with me or in a blog for MY site? I’m clapping my hands just thinking about how awesome that would be!

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Dr Juanita Barker May 8, 2012 at 6:55 am

Its great being a chiropractor and to see how treatment benefits all our patients. We see that optimal nervous system functioning together with ones “innate intelligence” allows for perfect functioning of the human body. I’m very happy to be part of the chiropractic profession and will most definitely be having chiropractic treatment when I’m pregnant. Thank you for a wonderful article which makes Chiropractic proud :-)

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Ryan May 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I know this is off topic, but is that picture for real?

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Mrs. BWF May 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Which picture?

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Freedom January 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Probably the one with the feet or hands sticking out in the mom’s belly.

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Nala July 2, 2012 at 10:35 pm

After a round with flu or some icky bug, DD sleep schedule went totally wacko (she was clockwork regular) and would wake screaming like night terrors but would quite/calm when laid flat on the floor. This went on for a week.

Took her to the chiro- he made multiples soft adjustments to neck, shoulders, back, hip. Said her neck was so crooked it was like us as adults walking around with our ear to our shoulder.

She slept almost normal that night and was back to her normal sleep schedule the next day and never woke again with the “night terror” like screams.

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Cortney July 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm

This article is amazing. Clean and simple. Demonstrating that chiropractic and pregnancy should and DO go hand in hand. I admit, my favorite patients are the pregnant patients. They find out very fast how beneficial chiropractic is during their pregnancy. Pregnancy comes with changes, aches and pains, nausea etc…but you don’t have to suffer during pregnancy. Chiropractic can help.

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john kyneur October 31, 2012 at 2:31 am

Just writing a post on chiropractic and pregnancy on my own blog.I came across your site.This is extremely well – written. Your sense of commitment comes across.Well done.(PS. My atlas work is with a modified Sweat head which sits on a Pettibon base with Don Harrison modifications.I have used this since the early 80s) all the best,Dr John kyneur,Sydney, Australia

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Chiropractic Bergen County November 6, 2012 at 5:27 am

Chiropractic is really beneficial for the pregnant women’s for their alignment of the body. It is the kind that focuses correcting the misaligned spinal vertebrae that tends to be the root cause in most of body ailments.

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robynnlansyn March 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm

I wish I had found this blog with my first pregnancy. This is really great. My husband goes to a chiropractor in Long Grove. We’re trying again and I’m definitely going to make my own appointments now. Thanks! http://BuffaloGroveChiro.com

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Maya Pande April 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

What a great article! Nicely written. There’s a specific chiropractic technique called Webster which is addresses certain issues that pregnant women have, like pubic bone pain or round ligament pain. It’s also used to help breech babies have enough room to turn! Look for a chiropractor who is Webster certified in your neighbourhood when you’re pregnant.

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Jacksonville Chiropractor May 14, 2013 at 9:11 am

This article is on point. Many women don’t know that chiropractic treatment during the stages of pregnancy can eliminate a lot of discomfort. Great article.

Chiro Man

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MJ May 21, 2013 at 9:40 am

I went to a chiropractor before conception, during the entire pregnancy (even after my water broke) and postpartum. I even tried three different chiropractors during that time. All this time while exercising (running up until 8 months and walking everyday after) and eating healthy, I was 18 days late, and labor lasted three WHOLE days! Sorry to say, I REALLY am NOT a believer!

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Mrs. BWF July 23, 2013 at 12:33 am

Not understanding what is not to believe due to your experience?

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Ingrid July 30, 2013 at 5:59 am

You were running up to 8 months, how do you think that happened without Chiropractic care!

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Researching Chiropractic July 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm

@MJ – but you don’t have proof that your labor and pregnancy would have been worse if you hadn’t gone to the chiropractor.

So maybe it DID help you, just not in the way you were anticipating or to the extent you were expecting.

Also you don’t have proof that it didn’t help your body recover more speedily than it would have without.

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Linda July 24, 2013 at 8:44 am

I have been a chiropractic patient for over 10 years and went while pregnant as well. It has not only changed my health for the better, but has kept me healthy too. And for any women who are breach, ask your chiropractor to do the webster’s technique.

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Christian Farthing September 5, 2013 at 9:36 am

That’s a terrific article there. Many thanks to the ‘Birth without fear’ team for posting such a detailed and straightforward explanation about Chiropractic and how it can help with pregnancy. Your explanation of subluxation is so easy to grasp.

I am a chiropractor myself, and was reading up some material for my post on pregnancy and Chiropractic care and that’s how I cam across your article. Its a wonderful read. Thanks for helping the ‘to-be-mother’ know more about Chiropractic and how it can help them and their baby. I hope to read much more interesting article on your site soon. Keep up the good work.

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Casey September 6, 2013 at 9:25 am

Can high-risk patients, particularly those with a history of extremely premature labor/delivery, safely see a chiropractor?

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doula kylie May 28, 2014 at 4:06 am

yes

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Joy May 30, 2014 at 9:57 am

Casey, I had a premature birth at 22 weeks (he did not survive) having had no chiropractic care during that pregnancy. For my second pregnancy I had already received McTimoney Chiropractic and continued to have it throughout the pregnancy. My daughter was born at 41+4. So my advise is, go for it, I swear that it helped me to carry full term. I was so impressed I went and trained as one, after 15 years a nurse.

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Sara October 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I am 20 weeks pregnant and tomorrow I go for my first adjustment! My son was born via csection 4 years ago and I am praying and hoping that I can have a successful VBAC. A midwife suggested a chiropractor- WHICH I HAD NO IDEA could help with pregnancies! I had an “inflamed pelvis” per my last doctor and the midwife I spoke to said I needed a chiropractor. Hoping this will help! I’m very optimistic and excited to go to my first appointment. :)

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Jessica May 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm

With my first i got adjusted in my first trimester once because I was in so much pain I just laid in bed sobbing all day. I would have loved to go regularly but couldn’t afford it.
This being my second pregnancy I started going to the chiropractor in my second trimester because my toddler injured my neck pretty badly (he swung from my ponytail like Tarzan). I’m now 36.5 weeks and I have had very few of the symptoms I had with my son.
I go every other week and I’m very excited for my appointments. I’m very grateful to have insurance that covers Chiropractic care this time.

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