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"Can I see a Chiropractor When I'm Pregnant?" You Can, and You Should!

The other day I was talking with a new patient of mine. As I do with most new patients, I asked if she had ever seen a chiropractor before. She responded that she had, but she stopped going when she became pregnant with her first child. I asked her why she stopped going just because she was pregnant and her response was a common one:

I don’t know. I just assumed that you couldn’t get adjusted when you were pregnant.

It is a common question that I get in my practice from women, particularly younger women who are recently married or are beginning to consider starting a family.

Can you even see a chiropractor when you are pregnant?

The answer to that question is a resounding YES. Not only can you see a chiropractor when you are pregnant, but you absolutely should. Especially if you are having pain with your pregnancy. We adapt our care to every individual who comes into our office. We will treat a child, an adult, a pregnant woman, and an elderly person all differently. Different patients have different needs, and we take measures to ensure our treatments are safe and effective for mother and baby alike.

Why should I see a chiropractor when I’m pregnant?

Normal pregnancy for women causes a tremendous amount of changes in a woman’s body physiologically and mechanically. The average woman gains around 20-40 lbs with a pregnancy, so the weight gain alone can cause increased strain on the spine. As the baby grows, women still have to remain upright, so the spine often changes to accommodate these new postural demands.

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Normal Spinal Changes During Pregnancy

The normal curvature in the low back (called a lordosis) often increases during pregnancy, and the center of gravity now must move back over the sacrum so that mothers to be don’t fall over every time they try to walk. This does, however, put more strain on the joints of the low back and the pelvis. This is why most pregnant women begin to notice pain in the small of their back, or off to one side over the sacro-iliac joints of the pelvis.

Another change that happens in pregnancy is an increased production of a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin has many different functions in pregnancy, but the one we are concerned with is that it causes the ligaments around the pelvis to “relax” to allow for the baby to eventually make its way into the world. The problem with this is that it actually begins to create instability in the lumbopelvic region.

This instability is actually the cause of most pregnancy-related low back pain. When a joint is unstable, you will see the nervous system send muscles into spasm to try to create stability. This is why the glutes, piriformis, and other muscles around the pelvis and buttock area tend to go into spasm and cause pain over those areas.

We thoroughly examine all of our pregnant patients to see what is causing their pain. Is their pain due to a lack of mobility? Or is their pain due to a lack of stability? Once we determine the nature of their problem, we tailor a treatment plan to address all of the patient’s needs and help ease their pain and discomfort as they go throughout this life-changing event.

Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life, and we believe that women should not spend their pregnancies frustrated by pain and discomfort. In our office, we provide safe, effective, affordable care to help women continue to thrive during their pregnancy.

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