How Chiropractic Can Help With Your Pregnancy and Birth

Morning 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 people, but the intensity, or even the presence, of these symptoms can, and most often do, diminish if under chiropractic care.

But why?

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 body will have no choice but to adapt to.

The presence of a spinal misalignment at the top of your neck will interfere with the nervous system’s ability to communicate back and forth with the body. The misalignment may result in one, two, or three of the following:

1.) Body Imbalance – a badly positioned C1 vertebra 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.

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 regions of spinal misalignments. 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 may lead to degeneration in these various body systems.

3.) Spinal Ligament Tension – A misalignment of your C1 vertebra may narrow the circumference of the spinal canal ever so slightly because of the way the C1 rocks in a slight clockwise or counterclockwise motion. This very slight narrowing results in tension of ligaments attaching the inside of the C1 to the outer protective layer of the spinal cord called the dura mater. The slightest misalignment of C1 can elicit some very serious discomfort and/or pain if left alone for any length of time.

Your body can only handle so much when everything is changing as rapidly and as often as it is during pregnancy. 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 spinal misalignments can wreak havoc on the health of a pregnant person.


The spinal compensations resulting from the misalignment 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 may add to the swelling you might be experiencing in your ankles, as well as possibly contributing to the increased risk of preeclampsia in your last trimester.

The 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 shortness of breath. Considering how difficult it can be to catch your breath during pregnancy, you don’t need or want any help with that!

As you can see, a spinal misalignment is not a minor thing to ignore. Even the most seemingly insignificant of misalignments will always run some kind of interference to the overall structure and function of your body. This is never a good thing, and especially not when you are pregnant and your body needs the most help and the least interference.


  • Meredith

    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!

  • Arlington Heights Chiropractor

    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!

  • Crystal - Prenatal Coach

    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 🙂

  • Chef Edmund-Gelfman

    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.

  • Wendy

    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.

  • Freehold NJ chiropractor

    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.

  • Laura

    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.

  • Heidi Roberts

    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!

  • Palmer West Chiro Student

    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!!

  • Stephanie

    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!

  • believer

    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.

  • Dr. John Fedina

    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.

  • Bethany Learn - Fit2B Studio

    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!

  • Dr Juanita Barker

    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 🙂

  • Nala

    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.

  • Cortney

    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.

  • john kyneur

    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

  • Maya Pande

    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.

  • MJ

    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!

  • Researching Chiropractic

    @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.

  • Linda

    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.

  • Christian Farthing

    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.

    • Joy

      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.

  • Sara

    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. 🙂

  • Jessica

    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.

  • Colee

    While I strongly believe in the healing powers of Chiropractic care, among amy other spine aliigning and body ballancing techniques like cranial sacral work and yoga, I am very disapointed by the fear based rational put forth here about why to recieve chiropractic care durring pregnancy. This is of course a reaction to reading it from a FB page called “Birth without Fear” and yet the wording to promote the benefits of chiropractic care are enducing of fear from the first words to the last. ‘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.” How is this description, however true, not using language inducing of fear? I’m appauled.

    • Mrs. BWF

      How is that fear based. Being pregnant many times, it’s the simply truth. LOL. Saying, “If you don’t’ get chiropractic care you can not be healthy and your baby doesn’t have as good of a chance as babies who do get care or their moms who get care…” Now that would be fear based. Have a good day and thank you for your feedback! 🙂

  • Nhat

    Really great post! As a Chiropractor, it’s been really good to know and hear how patients have been becoming well and no more back pains, foot swellings and most especially shorter labor hours. I hope many pregnant women should visit a Chiropractor and should not be afraid of us.

  • Mandy

    I didn’t see a chiropractor during my pregnancy with my son; while pregnant with my daughter, I saw my chiropractor frequently. With my son I pushed for four hours before he came out, because he was positioned oddly. My daughter came out with two minutes of pushing. I feel like chiropractic care set me up for a more successful birth.

  • Dr Thomas Barnes, D.C.

    Thank you for posting the article on Chiropractic and Pregnancy. In over 30 years of practice we have helped so many mothers experience healthy non-complicated pregnancy’s and deliveries. I hope the information is helpful for those expectant mothers with questions. I certainly will share it.
    Dr. Thomas Barnes, D.C.

  • Kate

    My chiropractor has been a godsend during my pregnancy. I really don’t know how I would have made it this far (33 weeks) without getting monthly adjustments.

  • Fulk Chiropractic

    Great article, thank you for posting! This is another resource we will certainly share with our patients who are expecting. Women have been coming to our office for years, surprised to learn that chiropractic can aid them through pregnancy and they have been overjoyed by the results!

  • Megan

    I have always been a supporter or chiropractic care. However, I didn’t go to the chiropractor much during my pregnancies. Around 39 weeks with my son, I had been experiencing prodromal labour for 2 weeks. I decided enough was enough, I went to the chiropractor, he was able to ajust me and I believe that helped baby drop, because five hours later he was born and it was such a great labour and delivery, I attribute at least a small portion of that to my chiropractor.

  • Brittany

    This was an excellent write up! I still think back to how much pain and aches i had during my pregnancy. Between the loss of sleep and waking up feeling like i got hit by a boss it inspired me to actually create a company that helps expecting mothers sleep better. I hope you are able to see this and if you plan on having another kid look into one they are a life changer even after pregnancy! Keep up the great articles. Love your blog!

  • The Best Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy

    I love chiropractic care; I hate taking medicine. My chiropractor “cured” me from the “bronchitis” my MD said I had. Another time I fell down some concrete steps and tore the skin down to the bone on three fingers. My holistic chiropractor treated those with a salve and daily laser treatments. They healed rapidly with no scarring whatsoever. He also cleared up “carpal tunnel syndrome” on which another MD wanted to operate! Same went for when I injured my shoulder. So now I go to my chiropractor first; and only go to an MD if he says I need one. That said, not all chiropractors are well versed in homeopathy, kinesiology, or nutrition. (Or Chinese herbs for that matter)

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