During pregnancy, your body ramps up production of a certain ligament- and joint-loosening hormone called relaxin that paves the way for baby to make an exit. Your body is growing fast, and sometimes your ligaments and muscles have trouble keeping up. And all of that combined can do quite a number on your back and spine.
Dr. Yadira Santiago is a chiropractor trained in techniques of stretching, applying controlled pressure and making specific joint manipulations. With expecting patients, she uses the Webster Technique, a method specifically developed for pregnant women. It’s supposed to ensure your baby has enough room to move around and, in the later stages of pregnancy, to possibly help turn breech babies. The thought is that if your baby can move around more easily, then she’s more likely to end up in the head-down position.
The technique usually involves some adjustments to the sacrum (a large bone at the base of the spine) and a short, gentle massage of the round ligament at the center of your growing belly. Relieving tension along the round ligament may help make space so gravity can pull your baby downward when it’s time for labor.
What are the benefits of seeing a chiropractor while pregnant?
It's thought that chiropractic care may help soothe the muscles and ligaments that change as your body grows, which in turn may pave the way for a smoother delivery. But many of those claims are unproven. Still, enthusiasts contend that seeing a chiropractor while pregnant may reduce a host of pregnancy concerns including:
- Low back pain
- Ligament pain
- Morning sickness
- Breech babies
- Pelvis and sacrum pain
- Length of labor
How often should you go to a chiropractor while pregnant?
While there is no set schedule for visiting a chiropractor while pregnant, Dr. Santiago recommends regular visits — around once a month throughout pregnancy for optimal alignment of the spine. If you have a particular discomfort that you’d like addressed, you may require more routine visits.
Talk to your doctor and make sure it’s safe for you to start treatments, especially if you’re considered a high-risk pregnancy. While the Webster Technique is designed for use in the third trimester, manipulation of the sacrum may soothe the back and ligament pain that ails you during the earlier stages of pregnancy too.
So if your loose limbs and growing belly are throwing you out of alignment, getting an adjustment might help ease the discomforts that are weighing you down and might even help get your baby ready to nose-dive down into the birth canal.