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I’m Pregnant! Do I need a chiropractor?

Whether pregnancy has you sexy and glowing or grumpy with swollen ankles and back pain, just know that you aren’t the only one. Since the beginning of time, women have been experiencing everything that comes with creating a new life – the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Hormones can be rough, but let’s get into that later.)

Today, a pregnant woman’s to-do list feels overwhelming. Pregnancy photoshoot? Check. Elastic waistband jeans? Check. Baby shower? Check. But between prepping for the arrival of your new babe, reading about natural birth, and photographing your swelling belly in front of the mirror, what are you doing to prepare your body for the monumental task that is giving birth? I’m no perfect planner. With Baby Elvis, I did my photoshoot on my birthday, the same day my water broke. Yikes!

The decision to actively prepare your body for childbirth is one that can mean shorter labor, no tearing (because, OUCH), and a speedy recovery. Prenatal chiropractic and strengthening work before baby will make a huge difference in how you experience childbirth. In the clinic, I recently worked with a mama whose baby arrived in three pushes. Yes, you read that right. THREE, yes it was her second baby, but she put in the time prepping her body. We began working together when she was 28 weeks pregnant and consistently built up her strength to support her muscles while correcting joint and muscle imbalances and getting her body into the best possible alignment before going into labor. Pelvic alignment is crucial during vaginal birth in order to help your body work its magic naturally and prevent nasty pelvic pains before, during, and even after pregnancy. This new mama had a previous labor experience that would make anyone think twice about procreation; she was in labor for 36 hours, she tore, and, naturally, she feared having to do it all again. With chiropractic care, massage, breathing techniques, and strength work, she gave her body the gift of a “warm-up.”

So how can chiropractic help with pregnancy?

In the Chiropractic Journal of Medicine, the results of a chiropractic and medical collaborative study indicate that, “75% of pregnant patients who received chiropractic care during their pregnancies stated that they found relief from pain.” I’d say the odds are in your favor mama, and can even be increased if you consistently apply the learned prenatal stretching, strength and massaging techniques at home as prescribed. Your pre-labor warm-up requires your dedication, too!

Along with adjustments to will relieve pregnancy sciatica and other pregnancy-related pains, we as chiropractors can implement the Webster technique, a specific sacral adjustment and a release of certain ligaments, to release tension in the pelvis and uterus. It reduces the effects of SI joint dysfunction, low back pain, back labor, and facilitates neuro-biomechanical function. Even full-term breech babies have been turned vertex using this method, although steps of the Webster technique can be used during your entire pregnancy. In other words, your body is prepared for baby’s exit and baby is positioned so that she has a smooth ride out. We recently saw a woman who was 38 weeks pregnant and anticipating back labor because of her forward-facing baby. To save her from the agonizing lower back pain, we performed the Webster technique to correctly position the backwards baby. A study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique, particularly in the third trimester. Check out the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association for more details on this technique.

Other chiropractic techniques during pregnancy include light force, full-spine adjusting procedures that address misalignments in your pelvis and spine, adjustments of the sacrum, and adjustments of the neck. Believe it or not, neck adjustments, when accompanied by myofascial release, improves pelvic alignment. Our chiropractors and trainers can lead you through a series of strength exercises and manual soft tissue therapy to prepare those pushing muscles and aid in recovery.

Yeah, but is chiropractic safe during pregnancy?

If you get the heeby-jeebies just thinking about pressure being placed on certain pain points, not to worry. A good chiropractor knows when to adjust a joint and, more importantly, when not to adjust; especially when pregnant mamas become more hypermobile as they progress through their pregnancy. Chiropractic manipulative treatment for pregnancy and labor has been documented for decades with great results, but if a chiropractor deems adjustment risky or unnecessary, other highly effective techniques to ease your pain and position your baby will be used such as massage, breathing, and core strength moves.

Are you relaxin’? Your pelvis is!


Unplug and be sure to get your rest but also know that your body is naturally prepping for baby’s arrival. The production of a hormone called relaxin kicks into overdrive during pregnancy and relaxes the ligaments in your pelvis, softens your cervix, and acts as a mediator for the hemodynamic changes that occur during pregnancy. That’s why chiropractic care during your pregnancy is crucial; with so many changes and such a flexible pelvis, you want to make sure your body is properly attuned, aligned, and stable.

Take a load off.

Even though chiropractic care will help ease any preggo pains, you’re still having to lug around that big belly of yours 24/7, right? Pubis Symphysis dysfunction, or osteitis pubis, is when the excessive movement of your pubic symphysis causes lower abdominal, groin, and pelvic pain. You can thank the relaxin hormone for this, as it is what allows your pubic symphysis to be so fluid and flexible in the first place. Try an SI joint pregnancy belt to relieve pressure on your pelvis and support your baby bump while it grows.

Enjoy it!

Pregnancy can be a beautiful thing that brings joy, excitement, and a sense fulfillment to your life. It’s the starting line to mommyhood! Listen to your body, marvel at its changes, and pamper yourself! When you know you’ve done what you can to prepare yourself for baby’s arrival, you’ll be able to focus less on pain and more on the important stuff – like baby bump progress photos and adorable outfits.

For more answers to your questions or to experience Webster firsthand, call us at 212-355-0445 or reach out to us at to make an appointment.

Best in Health,

Dr Emily Kiberd