I regularly get asked this question. Chiropractic, done properly, is completely safe throughout the course of pregnancy. You can even be treated right through the 3rd trimester! Treatment does vary a bit as the pregnancy progresses. Don’t think for one second that the treatment is the same “twist and crack” type of care. That can’t be further from the truth.
Let’s go through what to expect from care at my office.
In the first Trimester, care does not vary much from the standard, unless the “bump” appears very early. Care plans in the first 3 months are fairly, basic. If there are any conditions that exist prior to the pregnancy, these should continue to be treated. There is a mild consideration to avoid excessive rotation and forceful adjustments to the pelvis. The main purpose of chiropractic treatment at this point is to resolve low back pain, keep the pelvis moving as well as possible, and to maintain/encourage as much physical activity for the patient, as possible.
Moving along to the 2nd Trimester, this is where everyone who wasn’t previously showing a baby bump, is clearly now showing. This is where, depending on the patient, physical adjustments are less and less necessary. In my office, this is where treatment moves to more muscle stretching and gentle distraction. As the mother’s body continues to grow to accommodate the child, there are a multitude of ligaments (ovarian and round ligaments predominantly) that will begin to stretch more and more. This stretching is sometimes quite uncomfortable, and that discomfort can lead to a multitude of problems.
The slowly changing pelvis and associated abdominal muscles sometimes require consistent care (e.g weekly) sometimes just the low back is mildly uncomfortable, and requires infrequent visits (once per month).
The third trimester is where there is increasing amount of risk, for basically all things, not just chiropractic care. The baby bump is definitely getting larger, and is going to continue to alter how the mother lives. Walking, exercising, sleeping, working, during the final trimester, all activities of daily living can be disrupted. As the trimester progresses, less and less adjusting is required. The majority of the treatments required at this point of the pregnancy are strictly myofascial related, and very gentle.
Here at HFC, Dr Herrington also specializes in gentle flexion distraction therapy, with the added benefit that our chiropractic tables are easily able to accommodate patients through their 3rd trimester. The table has a drop away section to accommodate the growing baby bump.
By this point in the pregnancy, the mother’s body is producing increasing amounts of a hormone known as “Relaxin”. This hormone’s purpose is to relax ligaments and tendons to further aid the pelvis in remodeling enough to pass a baby through. This hormone has no ability to only effect the pelvic ligaments, so the result is most joints of the mother’s body are going to be able to move much easier. All physical adjustments done at this point are very gentle, as the joints move easily enough as is. Most mother’s seeking this kind of care require gentle myofascial work, and gentle stretching to aid in relieving lumbar and pelvic discomfort while being careful to not disrupt the growing baby.
To address to initial question? Is chiropractic safe during pregnancy? Yes. As long as the style of treatment does not remain as forceful adjusting as the mother’s body adapts to the pregnancy, then there are no contraindications for treatment. Given the hormonal effects of pregnancy, gentle care is more advised toward the end of the 2nd trimester and through the 3rd.
Dr. Herrington specializes in gentle, effective treatment for pregnant patients. If you’re trying to get more fit in the expectation of a pregnancy, or are currently dealing with low back pain during a current pregnancy, Herrington Family Chiropractic, is an excellent solution to your problem! Call today and get scheduled for your relief!