Is Chiropractic Safe During Pregnancy?

Lets Clear Up Some Common Misconceptions

Many medical professionals outside of Chiropractic will warn against seeking Chiropractic care during pregnancy, and who can blame them? They are making the best recommendations for their patients based on their knowledge of Chiropractic, and likely, the majority of their knowledge about Chiropractic comes from one of two sources.  First, they have been exposed to only one type of Chiropractic treatment known as Diversified technique.  This is the classic adjustment where you likely hear “popping” and is typically more forceful than other techniques.  Or, they’ve heard second hand accounts of people who have undergone Chiropractic care but didn’t see results, so they assume all cases will have similar outcomes.  What you should know, and what all professionals outside of Chiropractic should know, is there are safe and appropriate techniques to treat any patient, at any age, including mothers in any stage of pregnancy.

Chiropractic care is no more dangerous than normal exercise during pregnancy, which is highly encouraged by all medical professionals including the Mayo Clinic and the American Pregnancy Association.  Many of the reasons these trusted sources advocate exercise, are the same reasons why chiropractic is important for health of both mother and child.  “To ease and prevent back and other discomforts”.  “Help you sleep better.”  “Boost your mood and energy levels.”  These quotes from Mayo Clinic’s website about the effects of exercise sound an awful lot like the benefits seen with chiropractic care!

So the apprehension must stem from the misconception that the chiropractor will be compressing the abdomen, or creating torque to the placenta with aggressive adjustments.  Just like with different exercise plans, all women are not thrown into a cookie cutter treatment approach.  Depending on your level of discomfort, how far along your pregnancy is, if you are a “high risk” pregnancy, and other factors, your chiropractor can change the treatment to fit the patient.  As with all patients of chiropractic, each case is very individualized and the appropriate treatment will be rendered to maximize results, and minimize risk.

Many steps can be taken to minimize risk and maximize comfort and results.  There are special tables with collapsible abdominal pieces that allow a mother in her 3rd trimester to lay face down comfortably.  Many techniques involve no heavy or quick thrusting, but can still impart normal motion into dysfunctional joints.  Some techniques focus only on soft tissues to relieve spasms in the muscles of the pelvic floor and ligaments of the placenta (round ligaments).  Plus there are corrective exercises and stretches that can be taught to further help with relief at home.  All of this can be done by introducing no more stress to the body than mild exercise would.

So it’s safe, but is it necessary?

Absolutely!  During pregnancy, certain hormones increase the laxity of tissues in the pelvic floor to prepare the birth canal for delivery.  While this is an important process for delivery, these hormones also act on the joints of the pelvis and spine, essentially creating instability in these joints in a scenario where you are carrying more weight than usual in an unusual position.  This causes neighboring joints to lock down in an attempt to brace the site of instability.  This is why treatment is focused on stabilizing joints that move too much, and moving joints that are “stuck” in compensation.  Due to hormonal changes, such as the one described above, normalizing joint motion is a constant battle throughout pregnancy which is why continued care throughout all three trimesters is ideal.

So after a careful history and examination, you and your chiropractor can agree on a treatment plan that is both safe and effective.  This will result in a more enjoyable pregnancy with less pain and stress, which is greatly beneficial for ALL involved (dad, this includes you)!  Should you have any questions about this topic, please contact Clarksville Chiropractic to schedule a time to speak with Dr. Gilman or Dr. Linza.  Pregnancy should be an enjoyable experience and the beginning of a lifelong bond between mother and child.  Don’t let unnecessary pain take away from this wonderful journey.

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