There is an exciting trend happening within the birthing community: women are “rediscovering” their options for a more natural pregnancy and birth.  Many women feel empowered knowing that their body is an intricate system that can accomplish amazing feats.  And they are excited to know that there are many safe and natural ways to treat common pregnancy problems to help them accomplish these feats. Chiropractic is just one of the natural ways to help ease the growing pains of pregnancy.

Pregnancy is an exciting time for new moms.  The wonder and awe at the little person that is growing inside of you and the anticipation of meeting this bundle of joy can make any mom-to-be glow.  But what happens when you have back pain, sciatica, constipation, headaches, or any of the other “normal” problems that happen during pregnancy?  Being in pain and discomfort for nine months can make even the most excited mother a little irritable!  Add to that the fact that most medications are not safe to take during pregnancy, and you have a mom that is desperate for any relief!

Chiropractic care during pregnancy has been proven to be safe and effective.  It is important to find a chiropractor with experience treating pregnant women to ensure they have the proper training and equipment to accommodate you throughout the pregnancy. Special tables and pillows are used to address the special needs of pregnant women, which allow extra room for a growing belly and tender breast tissue.  A chiropractor that treats pregnant women can accommodate your changing body in many ways, and he or she should work with you to decide the method you like best.

Despite what you may have heard, chiropractic adjustments do not hurt mom or the baby.  Since the mom’s body is releasing the hormone Relaxin, the ligaments all over the body are already relaxed.  This means that the vertebrae (bones in the spine) in a pregnant woman move much easier and not much force is needed to make an adjustment.  In fact, the adjustments often have the amount of pressure you would use to test the ripeness of a tomato. The main side effects of prenatal chiropractic adjustments are decreased pain and increased health!

The list of pregnancy-related problems that chiropractic adjustments may help with is long, but some of the most common ones are:


Morning sickness/Nausea

Low back pain

Breech babies

Posterior baby/back labor

Premature Contractions


Swollen ankles and feet


Neck pain

Midback pain


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Pubic Symphysis Pain (groin pain)

Pubic area pressure (feels like baby will “fall out”)


According to Jeanne Ohm, DC, (Board of Directors for International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, Editor of Pathways Magazine, Panel member for Mothering Magazine, and author) chiropractic has been shown to decrease labor time, reduce the need for pain medications and help with post-partum depression. It also leads to an overall safer birth because it restores the normal function of the nervous system and normal biomechanics of the spine and pelvis.

Before we get into how chiropractic can help these things, let’s talk a little bit about what happens to a mother’s body during pregnancy.  It’s pretty obvious that a mom-to-be goes through a rapid increase in weight gain as the baby develops.  Adding anywhere from 20-70 pounds in such a short period of time can be a lot for anyone’s body to handle.  The difference with pregnant women though, is that the weight isn’t evenly distributed throughout the body.  Since it is mainly carried out in front, it puts added strain on the low back area.  On top of that the hormone Relaxin, which relaxes all the ligaments, can cause the  potential for a very unstable pelvis and low back area.  To compensate for the increased weight out in the front, the curve in the low back increases, which leads to changes in the curves of the mid-back and the neck.  For this reason, headaches stemming from dysfunction  in the neck are very common during pregnancy.

The pelvis plays two important roles throughout pregnancy.  First, it acts as a bony support and protector for the growing fetus throughout the pregnancy. Then, it must relax and open up enough to let the baby come out during delivery. Much of what happens during pregnancy is directly related to the function and alignment of the pelvis.  The pelvis is a ring that is made up of two pelvic bones and a triangle-shaped bone in the back called the sacrum.  The uterus sits nicely in the middle of the ring and is attached by 8 ligaments to the sacrum, pelvis bones, and organs such as the bladder.  When one of the bones in the ring is out of alignment, the ligaments attached to it get torqued and twisted, which can lead to a torqued and twisted uterus.  This can cause muscle spasm in the uterus, which may make it harder for a baby to turn inside and get into the proper head-down, or vertex position.  This is called a breech position, and in most cases it will lead to a C-section if not corrected.  The Webster’s Technique, a special chiropractic assessment and technique, addresses the position of the sacrum and pelvic bones, and may decrease the tension of the uterine ligaments.  By untwisting the ligaments, the uterus is able to relax and more room is available for the baby to turn.

While most attention is placed on the low back and pelvis area because of all the changes that occur here, it is important to note that all areas of the spine will be addressed when you visit the chiropractor.  The body works as a unit and therefore functions better when all systems are working properly.  What better time to have everything running smoothly, without the use of drugs, than during your pregnancy?  Do yourself and your baby a favor, and visit a chiropractor while you are pregnant.  You’ll be glad you did!

Dr. Brenda Trudell is a chiropractor and owner of New Beginnings Chiropractic in Mount Horeb.  The clinic focuses on natural health, especially for women, pregnancy and children through chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, nutrition and more. For more information, visit