Frequently asked questions about chiropractic care in pregnancy
Can a pregnant woman receive chiropractic care during pregnancy
Absolutely – as long as the chiropractor is comfortable and knowledgeable about adjusting a pregnant woman. Chiropractic care can offer relief from back, leg and pelvic aches and pains common during pregnancy. Many women who have tried it swear by chiropractic adjustments – saying they ease the aches and pains of carrying a baby.
What do Chiropractors do?
Chiropractic care involves diagnosing joint misalignments; whether they are in the spine, pelvis or other joints and corrects them by using the hands or other tools to manipulate, or adjust, the spine, joints and muscles. The misalignments can cause pressure or strain on the joints or the nerves - thereby causing pain. Correcting these relieves the pain. With pregnant women, chiropractors use gentle pressure to make the adjustments. Chiropractors also frequently recommend stretches, massage and specific exercises to add to the treatment program. Chiropractors who treat pregnant women use special cushions or a special table with a section that drops away to leave room for the belly and baby. My patients love this – they get to lay face down!
What do Chiropractors treat?
Among the most common pregnancy ailments that chiropractors treat are headaches, lower and upper back pain, sacroiliac pain, sciatica (which starts in the lower back or hip and radiates down the leg), pubic bone pain, and rib pain. Many of these discomforts are really a combination of the hormonal changes, causing the ligaments to relax and biomechanical changes which result from a fast increase in weight that is unevenly distributed. By alleviating the misalignment, the symptoms are alleviated. Many pregnant women visit chiropractors not only for specific symptoms, but to improve overall health and prevent potential discomfort by keeping the joints in alignment as the changes occur.
How often will I go?
For general wellness care, we typically see women once a month during the first trimester or two, then every two or three weeks until the last month or so, then once a week until delivery. If a woman is already experiencing pain, she is seen more frequently in the beginning, until the pain resolves and her body is more balanced, then she is put on a wellness schedule.
Chiropractors also recommend follow up care after the birth of the baby to rebalance the pelvis and low back and make sure all the joints realign properly.
Is it safe for me and my baby?
Most of the complaints after the first trimester involve the muscles, ligaments and skeleton. Drugs are contraindicated during pregnancy. Chiropractic specializes in treating the musculo-skeletal-nervous system and is natural and drug free. It is a perfect match! However, be sure you pick a chiropractor that is comfortable treating pregnant women and has extra training in this area. Referrals to chiropractors by midwives and doulas is common, however the traditional obstetric community is more resistant. They are unsure of what chiropractors do and therefore feel it may be risky or unsafe for the mother or baby. Once they are educated, however, they understand that a chiropractor is just part of the health care team working to make the mom healthier and more comfortable which results in better outcomes at the time of birth, and ultimately makes their job easier. In a hospital clinical evaluation of two competing hospitals it was noted that chiropractic care reduced the need for pain killers by 50%.
Chiropractic may help you, not only during your pregnancy, but during your labor and delivery when you need it most.
What is the Webster or breech technique in chiropractic?
Chiropractors do not “turn” breech babies, this is only done by the OBs with a special technique called version. However, by balancing the various bones of the pelvis, chiropractors do release structural constraint in the pelvis that allows babies in breech or any non-optimal position to turn head down as long as there are no other complicating factors. The technique, often called the Webster technique after its founder, Dr. Larry Webster, has about an 80% success rate. The technique involves some simple adjustments and muscle-ligament release techniques. This allows a release of tension and pull on the uterus so the baby can easily turn, if there are no other complications. The technique is very gentle and safe. At no time is the baby pushed or manipulated. Only certain chiropractors are trained in this technique, so be sure to ask.
The direct web-link: http://icpa4kids.com/about/webster_technique.htm
Dr. Laurie A. Somerville
2324 S Congress Ave, Suite 1-J
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
Certified in the Webster technique