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Chiropractic and Pregnancy

“At no time in a woman’s life is the incredible adaptive capacity of the human body more obvious than during pregnancy” – Joan Fallon

Chiropractic is safe and effective during pregnancy and helps support the mothers changing body. By correcting and maintaining pelvic and especially sacral alignment chiropractic care is effective at reducing pain, increasing mobility and increasing the chance of a straight forward birth with less pain, fewer interventions and decreased time. For this reason many women are proactively choosing chiropractic to maximize their pregnancy.

Chiropractic works with the relationship between the structure of the spine and skull and the function of the nervous system. The brain controls every cell, tissue and organ via the nervous system. Interference to this vital communication between the brain and the body can occur due to vertebral misalignment or what chiropractors term vertebral subluxation.

Chiropractic is not a treatment for a specific symptom or disorder but aims to create better balance and health in the whole body by improving spine and nervous system function.

Chiropractors are AHPRA/government registered and regulated and have completed a minimum of 5 years full time study. They must complete regular ongoing education.

Research on receiving chiropractic care during pregnancy has been shown to have the following effects:
• Decreased low back pain
• Decreased pain during labour
• Decreased interventions
• Decreased labour time

Dr. Per Freitag MD, a well-known orthopaedic researcher, studied the effects of chiropractic adjustments on the delivery process. The study concluded that the need for analgesics during delivery was reduced by half in the pregnant patients who received chiropractic care. (1)

In another study 84% of patients receiving chiropractic manipulation reported relief of back pain during pregnancy. There was significantly less likelihood of back labour when spinal manipulative therapy was administered during pregnancy. (2)

Dr Joan Fallon found that chiropractic during pregnancy reduced labour times, for first-time mums averaged a 24% shorter labour, while mothers who had given birth before had a 39% reduction in the average labour time. (3)

“The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces interference to the nerve system and balances maternal pelvic muscles and ligaments. This in turn reduces torsion in the uterus, a cause of intra-uterine constraint of the baby and allows for optimal fetal positioning in preparation for birth.” Jean Ohm – International Chiropractic Paediatric Association (ICPA)

Using the Webster Technique chiropractic has shown a high success rate of relieving intra-uterine constraint and breech presentations. In one retrospective study the result was 82% success. (4)

Things the pregnant patient may like to know:
• We don’t require x-rays for chiropractic care during pregnancy although it is helpful if previous spinal images are available
• Our treatment tables are designed to accommodate growing tummies! We have special pillows so the pregnant patient can lie comfortably
• For those with children already, our clinics are also very “family friendly” with designated children’s play areas, change tables as well as experienced staff (many of whom are parents themselves) to help entertain your kids

Basic advice for pregnant patients:
• Regular checkups with your birth provider
• Having regular chiropractic checkups
• Sitting upright with hips higher than knees
• Sitting on a fit ball, upright, feet & knees wide
• On hands & knees – cat curling and crawling
• Avoid high heels
• Kneeling squat with hands forward onto floor
• Swimming (not backstroke)
• Avoid deep squats (unless recommended)


REFERENCES: (1) Freitag P. Expert testimony of P. Freitag, M.D., Ph.D., Comparing the results of two neighbouring hospitals, U.S. District Court Northern Illinois Eastern Division, No. 76C 3777, May 1987.
“Back pain during pregnancy and labor”. Diakow PR, et al. Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics, 1991: 14(2): 116-118. (3) Fallon, J. DC. The Effect of Chiropractic Treatment on Pregnancy and Labour: A Comprehensive Study. Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic, 1991:24-31.(4) J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2002 Jul-Aug;25(6): E1-9


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