8 Things You Should Know About Prenatal Chiropractic Care
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
We hear all the time how an adjustment and muscle work reduce back pain and round ligament pain. Of course, this is important! Just because you are pregnant, does not mean you have to be in pain or uncomfortable ALL the time. But, the benefits of prenatal chiropractic care extend beyond relieving aches and pains during pregnancy. The WHY behind seeking out a trained prenatal chiropractor is to maintain proper pelvic and spinal alignment, maintain proper muscle tone and health, reduce tension in the round ligaments, provide an optimal environment for your growing baby, prepare your body for labor and delivery, and to aid in recovery during the postnatal period.
Find the right provider for YOU
Building a birthing team that supports your decisions and the type of birth you want is important during this journey. Not all chiropractors are trained in providing prenatal care. Therefore, when building your birthing team, you should “shop” around for a chiropractor that is trained in providing specific prenatal care, including being Webster Certified. A practitioner that is Webster Certified has additional training caring for you during pregnancy. At Radiant Life Chiropractic, Dr. Jessica has 3 years of additional training in prenatal, postnatal, and pediatric care. She is certified by the Academy of Family Practice for prenatal and pediatric care and is Webster Technique Certified.
What is the Webster Technique?
A chiropractor that is Webster certified has gone through additional educational training in prenatal chiropractic care covering the Webster Technique. In my opinion, having the Webster Technique performed by a trained chiropractor is the most important treatment you can receive from a chiropractor during pregnancy. The Webster Technique focuses on releasing tension in the sacrotuberous ligament and the round ligaments. The purpose of the round ligaments is to hold the uterus in place. As your body is rapidly changing during pregnancy, these ligaments become strained and can tighten just as a muscle can. By using the Webster Technique, restrictions found in the ligaments can be released allowing the pelvis to remain more balanced.
Taking care of your body sooner rather than later is always the best approach. Why wait until you are in pain? Being in pain is never normal! Generally, I see prenatal patients once per week until the symptoms are under control. Once that happens, treatments occur every other week until around 30-32 weeks. At this time, we will re-evaluate how she is feeling then move the appointments to once per week until delivery. Everyone responds to the treatment differently. Some women may do great at every other week while others respond better to weekly visits throughout their pregnancy.
Chiropractic care has been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of musculoskeletal complaints during pregnancy (1) Getting adjusted during pregnancy is very gentle. Due to the relaxin hormone, your joints move much easier and with much less force or pressure. Many different techniques can be used to adjust your spine. I can discuss each option with you, and you can pick which technique you are the most comfortable with. I also have pregnancy pillows that can be used. The middle is cut out of the pillow, so baby can nestle safely and comfortably in the pillow while you are face down on the table. Most women love this option as they have not been on their tummy in months! If you choose against this option, the adjustment can be done in a seated position. There are so many options available to you that we can find something that you are comfortable with.
I am certified in prenatal and pediatric care by the Academy of Family Practice and I am Webster Technique certified. The treatment that I provide goes beyond the chiropractic adjustment. As a chiropractor, the adjustment is the most important service that I offer my patients, but I also look at the body as a whole. I spend time performing muscle work with each of my patients in conjunction with the adjustment. The muscles attach to the bones, so it is important to make sure they are healthy and moving properly along with the joints. Muscle health is huge during pregnancy as the muscles are constantly being stretched and strained during this rapid time of change. We also use Rock Tape in our office to provide extra support. I tape my patients during pregnancy that may have a hard time holding their adjustment and need that extra support and stability. Each patient goes through pregnancy exercise protocols that I put together to strength the deep core muscles that are needed during labor. This is also beneficial in reducing pain during pregnancy, increasing the ability to hold the adjustment longer, and improving recovery time during the postnatal period.
Low back pain is the most common symptom I see in the prenatal population. As your body shape changes, strain is placed on your lower back resulting in tightened muscles. Misalignment of the spine is normal during this time as the curvature of the spine changes along with your growing belly. This can result in sharp pain to dull achy pain.
Sciatic pain is also common. This type of pain may start in the low back and/or hip area and result in pain, numbness, tinging, and/or weakness down one or both legs. This is often caused by a misalignment and tight muscles that are irritating the sciatic nerve. This can be managed with adjustments and working out the tight muscles to alleviate the tension placed on the nerve.
Pubic bone pain is no fun! This can be very painful, and very tender to adjust. Difficulty walking or pain while walking may be an indication that the pubic bone needs to be adjusted. This pain can be experienced any time during pregnancy, but generally, I see it more often towards the later part of pregnancy as the joints are becoming looser and the baby is dropping lower in position applying extra pressure in the pubic area.
Round ligament pain is one of the most common symptoms that I see, especially towards the end of pregnancy. The location of the ligament can be found towards the bottom of your growing belly. The purpose of the ligament is to hold the uterus in place. As your baby bump grows, the ligaments become stretched causing tension or spasms to occur. Webster Technique is used to alleviate the tension felt in the round ligaments. Many times, this area is so tight most of the visit is spent releasing this ligament. Taking care of the round ligaments is important in maintaining proper alignment of your pelvis.
Headaches may be common during pregnancy due to the shifting hormones. Taking gentle care in release the muscles along the base of the skull and neck and adjusting the neck can aid in relieving the headaches.
Carpal tunnel symptoms can start at any point during pregnancy, but I generally see this later on in pregnancy. Swelling may become an issue along your hands, wrists, and forearms resulting in compression of the carpal tunnel. A gentle adjustment, myofascial release, and taping work wonders for these symptoms!
The female body is truly amazing when you think about it. You carried, labored, and delivered another human! Your body goes through major changes during pregnancy and delivery. Now, it is time to heal and give yourself some grace and love during the 4th trimester. During delivery, pelvic misalignment may occur resulting in dysfunction, pain, and discomfort. Caring for your new baby brings on new physical demands that your body has to adapt to including nursing, pumping, carrying your baby, sleeping in odd positions, toting around a carrier and diaper bag, losing much needed sleep and more! Getting chiropractic care following the delivery of your child can help ensure your body is free of dysfunction for optimal healing.
Building your birth team with like-minded birth providers is so important to support you during your pregnancy. Finding the right prenatal chiropractor is no exception. Do your research, choose a provider that offers the services you need, and choose a provider that you feel comfortable with to go on this journey with you.
Lots of love!
Visit our YouTube channel to watch Dr. Jessica's webinar:
1.) Borggren DC, Cara L. Pregnancy and Chiropractic: A Narrative Review of the Literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2007, pages 70-74.