Chiropractic when pregnant: how to use a Toronto prenatal chiropractor throughout your pregnancy

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is a wonderful option for both the mother and developing baby.

During pregnancy the ligaments and muscles that support the vertebrae in your spinal column are stretched, which can potentially lead not only to pain and discomfort in your back and hips, but also complicate your pregnancy and potentially your labor and delivery.

Female patient hurt from lower back pain

The spine is always under stress, but it takes on an added responsibility throughout your pregnancy and birth process. It’s designed to support your weight, but during pregnancy must support both you and the weight of your child while they grow and develop.

Is it safe to go to a chiropractor during pregnancy?

The simple answer is yes. Millions of pregnant patients have already safely experienced the benefits of pregnancy chiropractic care for themselves and their baby. Many women search for a Toronto prenatal chiropractor or a “pregnancy chiropractor near me”. Rest assured, numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic services during pregnancy.

A prenatal adjustment happens when the doctor adjusts the spine, tendons, and ligaments to relieve stress in the back and pelvis to minimize discomfort and pain. This helps prevent complications during pregnancy such as sciatica or pelvic girdle pain. These adjustments or spinal manipulations are gentle and comfortable for both you and your baby.

Woman Laying on her Stomach

If you’re pregnant and in need of chiropractic care, a good option is a chiropractor who uses an adjustable table. It allows for the adjustments to treat pregnant women to be made with greater ease and less pressure, allowing the process to be incredibly gentle. These specialized drop chiropractic tables can be used in both prenatal and postnatal care and are often combined with pregnancy pillows.

This allows your growing stomach to be perfectly cushioned, so there is no pressure during the chiropractic treatments. Women love laying on the pregnancy pillow, as it’s one of the only times you are able to lie face down after your first trimester. This makes the whole treatment process gentle, comfortable and safe.

Benefits of chiropractic during pregnancy

Millions of expectant mothers look to chiropractic as a safe, natural and drug-free approach for their pregnancy. Chiropractors are able to provide gentle adjustments that promote optimal health and nervous system function throughout the entire duration of your pregnancy, in some cases up to the day of your delivery.

A woman’s weight distribution often becomes uneven during pregnancy, this can create stress on her spine, abdominal muscles, pelvic structures, and other areas of her body. It is important for pregnant women to visit their chiropractor regularly so that she will have the most benefit from this care throughout each trimester.

Regular chiropractic care during pregnancy can help relieve spinal nerve stress from the back and prevent compression of spinal nerves by adjusting your spine’s alignment. Chiropractors have unique manual therapy techniques and specific chiropractic analysis that are safe throughout the entire pregnancy, and can provide relief for low back pain, neck pain, and other areas of joint pain.

Research shows that not only is chiropractic care a safe and effective way to help women avoid the pains associated with pregnancy from labor and delivery, but it may also help to improve the fetal position during birth and even help to shorten overall labor and delivery time. Some studies also suggest that regular chiropractic care may minimize interventions and complications during the birth process for improved outcomes.

What is a prenatal chiropractor?

A prenatal chiropractor or pregnancy chiropractor is a health care provider who has a special interest and focus in caring for pregnant women. 

These chiropractors specialize in the art of applying controlled pressure and making specific joint manipulations or spinal adjustments to help reduce pain, relax muscles and ease stress. A prenatal chiropractor uses various chiropractic treatment techniques to help women maintain proper posture throughout pregnancy, alleviate joint and pelvic pain, and to help the mom-to-be reduce stress levels and help optimize the pelvic balance and positioning for the delivery process. 

Certain prenatal chiropractors may have received additional specialized training through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, or the ICPA. Both doctors at Transform Chiropractic in Toronto, Dr. Byron Mackay and Dr. Elizabeth Viglasky, have received specialized training and certifications through the ICPA.

Gynaecologist Examining Pregnant Woman

The Webster Technique is a specialized chiropractic technique that can be used throughout the pregnancy, but most often in the third trimester. It is often associated with a breech presentation. It is designed to relieve pain and discomfort, but also to reduce stress and pressure in the pelvis. This may help with intrauterine constraint to allow the baby to better position itself for the birth canal, relieve tension and pressure for the pregnant woman, and to help with a natural childbirth. It’s a painless procedure that doesn’t require anesthesia or surgical instruments and only takes about 5-10 minutes to complete.

If you are looking for a chiropractor in Toronto for pregnancy patient care, and are particularly interested in prenatal care using the Webster chiropractic treatment technique, it is good to ask the chiropractor in advance if they are proficient in this technique.

When should a pregnant woman start going to the chiropractor?

Pregnant women should ideally start going to the chiropractor as early as possible into their pregnancy, preferably in their first trimester, or as soon as they start to experience any discomfort or symptoms. This allows for correction of any previous postural distortions that may put increased stress on their lower back and pelvis, potentially complicating their pregnancy.

Many women may however begin prenatal chiropractic care later in pregnancy, in their second and third trimester, as the stress on their lower back and pelvis increases as the baby grows in-utero.

Young pregnant woman suffering from backache

It is also important to practice good postural habits early in the pregnancy, allowing the pregnant patient to carry their baby with minimal pain and to prevent future complications. Your chiropractor will advise you on postural recommendations and modifications as your pregnancy progresses to make it more comfortable.

If you are already experiencing back pain, sciatica or pelvic pain, prenatal chiropractors can work with you to alleviate these issues and other common pregnancy complaints.

How often should you go to a chiropractor while pregnant?

There is no set schedule for visiting a chiropractor during pregnancy, but practitioners ideally recommend regular visits. If you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort, then it’s best to get it checked out and find the cause of your symptoms as early into pregnancy as possible.

Multiple visits per week may be required at first to get your pain under control, later progressing to less frequent visits. In some cases, as your belly and baby grow, and there is more stress on your lower back and pelvis, weekly visits may help to keep any pain under control, and to help prepare your body for the labor process.

Pregnancy chiropractic adjustment

There are multiple prenatal chiropractic techniques used by a chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy.

Minimal modification is required in the early stages of the pregnancy, until the abdomen and pelvis begin to enlarge. Towards the end of the first trimester and start of the second trimester, a small chiropractic pregnancy pillow is often used to cushion the abdomen to increase comfort for the pregnant woman.

As the pregnancy progresses, another larger pregnancy pillow is used, with some modification on the chiropractic table to increase spacing for the abdomen. Chiropractors may also suggest certain soft tissue therapy techniques and safe exercises and stretches that pregnant women can perform at home, and other physical therapy techniques to help prepare the pelvis for delivery. The use of the Webster technique may be recommended to help with a balanced pelvis and intrauterine constraint, particularly in the last trimester.


When to tell a chiropractor you’re pregnant?

Ideally you should notify your prenatal chiropractor as soon as you find out you are pregnant. While no significant modifications to care are necessary early on, there may be certain exercises or stretches your chiropractor will recommend for you, and others they may suggest you avoid. Certain diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, are not recommended during pregnancy, so it is important to notify your chiropractic doctor as soon as you know you are pregnant. 

Can you go to a chiropractor while pregnant in first trimester?

We are often asked “can you get a chiropractic adjustment while pregnant”? Yes, you can get a chiropractic adjustment while pregnant. In fact, many women will start chiropractic care in the first trimester of their pregnancy. This can help with symptoms like back pain, but can also prepare your back and body to better handle the postural changes that often accompany any pregnant patient. 

Can a chiropractor help in the third trimester?

Yes, a chiropractor can help you with symptoms like back pain, sciatica, neck pain and headaches in the third trimester. They can also help to prepare your lower back and pelvis for labor, helping to establish pelvic balance and optimal baby positioning.

Can a chiropractor help with sciatica during pregnancy?

Yes, in many instances sciatica can occur do to a misalignment or shift in the pelvis or sacroiliac joints, and chiropractic adjustments have been shown to be beneficial for this. Increased tension in the pelvic musculature, such as the piriformis, can also contribute to sciatica, and may be helped by a chiropractic evaluation and adjustments. 

Dr. Byron Mackay

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