How Chiropractic Care Can Help During Pregnancy

Your body goes through tremendous changes during and after pregnancy. In addition to your prenatal vitamins, nutritious diet, and regular OB/GYN visits, consider including chiropractic care in your plans for a healthy pregnancy.

As chiropractors at Blessing Health System, Wes Creech, DC, ART, CSCS, and Erik Nothold, DC, ART, care for pregnant women who are experiencing pain or want to have an easier pregnancy and delivery.

"Chiropractic care during pregnancy is safe and doesn't hurt," Dr. Creech explains. “Our treatment complements OB/GYN care and the doctors trust us. Because there's a bigger push today for more natural pregnancies and childbirth, patients are asking us for help in making that happen."

Pain Relief From Head to Toe

Symptoms the chiropractors treat include sciatica, hip and pelvic pain, lower back pain, neck pain and headaches. They can also help with sleep difficulties.

"Women come to us in pain or they want to prevent pain they had in previous pregnancies," Dr. Nothold says. "Since women often can't take pain medicine during pregnancy, chiropractic care can help reduce pain as well as help with a lot of other issues."

Several research studies have shown the benefits of chiropractic care in reducing back pain during pregnancy.

As the baby grows during pregnancy, your posture changes, too—think curved back and protruding belly. The weight of the baby may press on your sciatic nerve causing pain down the back of your legs. Swelling in the feet and ankles is also common.

Musculoskeletal and hormonal changes during pregnancy are often at the root of pain and discomfort. Postural changes may lead to a misaligned pelvis, which can make it difficult for the baby to move into the correct position for birth. This impacts your ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth. C-sections are often needed for babies in the breech position.

Chiropractors can make delivery easier through adjustments to open your hips. This may decrease labor time, help with malpositioned babies, such as those who are breech, and even prevent a C-section.

"Stretches can open hips to allow more space for the baby to turn to the correct position," Dr. Creech says. "Some patients have also avoided a second C-section through chiropractic care. Treatment includes adjustments and a home exercise and stretching plan during pregnancy."

The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) recommends women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy.

What to Expect When You're Expecting

In addition to traditional chiropractic care, Dr. Creech and Nothold bring expertise in Active Release Techniques (ART), a non-invasive treatment of soft tissue to relieve pain and improve flexibility.

Dr. Nothold says some people have misconceptions about what chiropractic care is and is not. "They may be apprehensive because they think it will be rough and they will hear loud noises with a spinal adjustment. But it's not like that at all. The adjustments are gentle. We take our time with patients and include stretching, strengthening and stabilizing exercises in treatment plans. Also, patients don't have to have their spine adjusted. We can just do ART and soft mobilization."

When the chiropractors meet with patients, they listen, review health history and current activity levels, and perform an exam. Then they create a plan with specific goals tailored to each patient. The chiropractors may provide exercises and stretches to do at home.

To make you more comfortable, the chiropractors use special equipment and cushions designed for pregnant mothers.  

"Treatment is different depending on the trimester," Dr. Creech says. "And every patient is different with different goals. If you had back pain before pregnancy, you're more likely to have pain as your pregnancy progresses. And if you had nerve pain or sciatica during previous pregnancies, you're likely to have it again."

The chiropractors recommend a visit by at least 26 weeks for optimum pain relief during weeks 35 to 36, when hip and back pain tends to worsen.

"Women need to start strengthening exercises by about week 24 to 26 because it takes time to strengthen the muscles when they're needed by 30 weeks and beyond." Dr. Nothold says.

Frequency of visits is based on patient goals. Generally, treatments are more frequent early in your pregnancy and then again closer to delivery to loosen your hips for childbirth.

Dr. Nothold says teamwork is an essential part of treatment for pregnant mothers. "We work closely with OB/GYNs and orthopedic doctors. They're comfortable with us and we share treatment plans. It's a beautiful process that keeps patients safe."

Care After Your Baby is Born

Chiropractic care is ideal after your baby is born, too.

"For many women, the pain switches from lower back and hip pain during pregnancy to upper back and neck pain from breastfeeding and carrying the baby," Dr. Creech says.

He says chiropractic care with strengthening exercises and adjustments are beneficial to prevent or relieve this pain.

"In the weeks after delivery, women are still producing a lot of the hormone relaxin that loosens ligaments for childbirth. That makes it easy to adjust them."

Partnership in Comprehensive Care

Drs. Creech and Nothold are conveniently located at the Blessing Health Center located at 4800 Maine. It's uncommon for a hospital to be affiliated with a chiropractic care practice. Yet this innovative partnership benefits patients by offering a full range of coordinated care.

The connection between us and the hospital benefits patients," Dr. Nothold says. ""We pride ourselves on giving more comprehensive care to patients. We know the OB/GYNs, neurologists and orthopedic teams and they frequently refer patients to us because we've built trust and respect with each other. We share patients and work together. This means the patient is getting more holistic, comprehensive care."

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment or refer a patient please call our office at 217-222-5800.