What is a prenatal chiropractor?
Prenatal chiropractors have had specialized training in techniques most appropriate for pregnant women: specific gentle adjustments to restore proper spinal and pelvic motion and alignment, muscle techniques, and specific stretches and exercises to assist with pregnancy and in preparation for delivery. They also focus on helping pregnant women strengthen their pelvis, back and abdominal muscles to help with labor and delivery.
Pregnancy chiropractors are often certified by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), like our chiropractors at Transform Chiropractic clinic in Toronto, and work with pregnant women in a safe, gentle way to provide relief from back pain and other pregnancy related issues. Pregnancy chiropractors work primarily on spine alignment and function as well as other joints of the body that could be contributing to discomfort during pregnancy.
Many prenatal chiropractors use techniques specifically developed for pregnant women to help with pelvic pain and in utero constraint. The Webster Technique helps ensure your baby has enough room to move around in-utero and may also help in allowing your baby to get positioned into head-down positions in late pregnancy, allowing for optimal baby positioning. Pregnancy chiropractors do not turn breech babies, but rather assist the body to position the baby naturally.
Is it safe to go to a chiropractor during pregnancy?
Before seeing any chiropractor, it is important to ensure that your chiropractor is licensed by their governing body. Additionally, it is worthwhile to enquire whether they have additional training specifically in treating pregnant women, and how much experience they have in this area. They should also have the necessary equipment for pregnancy care, in addition to the standard chiropractic equipment.
In order to ensure that pregnant patients are as comfortable as possible during each session, particularly during the third trimester, it’s important to find an experienced prenatal chiropractic doctor who has specialized equipment like drop tables for pregnant women, as well as pregnancy pillows for the growing abdomen. This helps to make the pregnancy chiropractic adjustment as comfortable as possible.
In general, pregnant patients should minimize how long they lie on their back during the third trimester, but the use of pregnancy pillows and specialized tables make chiropractic treatments safe and effective well into the third trimester.
Overall, prenatal chiropractic care is a safe and effective option for pregnant mothers. The therapy can help relieve pregnancy-related discomfort, improve posture, reduce low back pain, help with both the pregnancy and delivery, and help to prevent future injuries post-natal.
For more information on our pregnancy chiropractic care at our Toronto chiropractic clinic, please visit our prenatal chiropractic webpage.
Pregnancy Chiropractic Techniques
Prenatal chiropractors use a number of techniques when treating pregnant women. In our chiropractic clinic we use primarily hands on adjusting of the spine, pelvis and other joints, but will also employ instrument adjusting (activator) and other muscle techniques where needed.
Pregnancy chiropractors are trained not to exert pressure on the women’s abdomen, and to use specialized techniques to minimize pressure on the sacrum and pelvis. The use of specialized pregnancy chiropractic tables and pillows help make chiropractic spinal manipulation especially gentle for moms to be.
Many practitioners will adjust their techniques accordingly with pregnant patients and focus more on pelvic region health with regard to reducing stress on ligaments and overall uterine health. The Webster Technique is a gentle technique and is a common pregnancy technique used to help with pelvic pain, pelvic alignment and to minimize in-utero constraint for the baby.
Your pregnancy chiropractor may also suggest specific stretches and exercises to help with your chiropractic care, and to prepare your low back, abdominal muscles and pelvis for labour and delivery.
When to Go to a Chiropractor During Pregnancy
Ideally, the best time to start chiropractic care during pregnancy is as early as possible, before there are significant postural changes to your spinal column and pelvic stress. Many women will in fact begin prenatal chiropractic visits before they are pregnant, to better prepare their body for all the changes to come.
The earlier during the pregnancy a woman goes to a chiropractor, the more likely she will be able to avoid problems like lower back pain.
Some general guidelines for when it would be appropriate for a woman to see a chiropractor include if she experiences pain during the pregnancy; low back pain that does not improve with rest; pelvic problems such as sciatica, back pain, and pelvic girdle pain; or if she has a joint injury that is not healing properly.
The chiropractor can help the pregnant woman’s body recover from the various changes that occur during pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester as the abdomen continues to grow. Regular manipulation of muscles and joints is highly beneficial for a pregnant woman, as it not only helps with back pain, neck pain, sciatica and headaches, but also helps to protect her overall health and well-being, and that of the baby.
Benefits of Seeing a Chiropractor while Pregnant
Prenatal chiropractic care is a safe and effective option for pregnant mothers. Because of the focus of pregnancy chiropractic on the muscular system, spine, and joints, it is particularly helpful for women during this time. It not only helps to maintain balance in the body, but this type of care can be especially helpful for certain pregnancy symptoms like back pain or sciatica.
Many doctors are now recommending alternative medicine and treatments and recommend that patients seek out prenatal chiropractors who can help them with the following:
- Help relieve back pain and other symptoms associated with pregnancy
- Improve pelvic alignment and balance to aid with fetal positioning in-utero
- Improve pelvic mobility and alignment to assist with the delivery process
Pregnancy chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to manage pelvic balance, improve posture, and to relieve pain associated from pregnancy in the back, hips, and joints. It may also help pregnant women avoid problems that may cause long-term health issues for both them and their baby.
In general, chiropractic manipulation is an effective form of manual therapy that can help prevent future injuries from poor alignment of the pelvis and may help mothers experience a more comfortable and relaxed labor and delivery process that is also safer for the baby. Many pregnant women experience these benefits by seeing a pregnancy-friendly chiropractor during their prenatal care visits.
How Often Should I Go to the Chiropractor During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, a woman’s body changes in order to accommodate the growing fetus. This includes movement and increased stress on the bones and joints, which may lead to pain or other discomfort during pregnancy. Your chiropractor will work with you on an individual basis as well as your doctor to determine how often you should schedule visits for treatment and care throughout your pregnancy.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, many women will see a chiropractor once a month in their first trimester and then again about every other week during the second and third trimesters. As they approach week 36, towards the last month of pregnancy, many may need more frequent visits depending on how their pregnancy progresses and their level of symptoms.
After delivery, it’s not unusual for women to see their chiropractors weekly or biweekly in the beginning to help with recovery from the pregnancy and delivery, and in order to maintain good posture and prevent future problems related with pelvic instability from the pregnancy. Some women elect to have their newborn checked at this time also by their pediatric chiropractor, particularly if the labor was difficult or complicated.
Pregnancy and Sciatica
Pregnancy and sciatica are unfortunately often linked, with sciatica often caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back to the buttocks area and down the leg.
Sciatica is a common condition during pregnancy due to pelvic imbalance and the increased stress on the lower back. As the abdomen grows, it often results in severe lower back pain, hip pain, pelvic discomfort and even difficulty sitting and walking.
If you are experiencing sciatic nerve pain, your chiropractor will perform a chiropractic evaluation and work with you to develop a course of action based on the symptoms and severity of your condition. Chiropractic treatment is an effective way to relieve sciatic pain for any pregnant patient, and is a great alternative when you’re unable to take medications during your pregnancy.
Chiropractic treatment for sciatica will involve an assessment to determine the underlying problem, and most often gentle chiropractic adjustments to restore the proper balance and movement in your lower back and pelvis.
Very often, the prenatal chiropractor will also recommend other forms of physical therapy and sciatica stretches and sciatica exercises to help with pain relief, and to strengthen and stabilize your pelvis safely.
If you have any other questions about chiropractic care while pregnant, don’t hesitate to reach us through our website at www.transformchiropractic.com, or at 416-604-4184. Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Byron Mackay