As if nausea, fatigue, food aversions and cravings weren’t enough, did they have to add back pain to the list? It has been reported that approximately 50-80% of all pregnant women experience back pain during their pregnancy and 50% to 75% of women experience back pain during labour (not fair, right?).
There are many factors that contribute to pregnancy-related low back pain. These include weight gain, a change in mom-to-be’s center of gravity, an increase in forces through the spine and hormonal changes. For more information on these changes, please read Low Back Pain and Pregnancy: Growing Pains.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care during Pregnancy
When you’re experiencing back pain, who you gonna call? Your chiropractor! But a question that is commonly asked is, is chiropractic care safe during pregnancy? The answer is yes! Chiropractic care is safe to use through all trimesters of pregnancy and will not harm the growing fetus in anyway. Additionally, chiropractic care has been shown to improve the mother’s overall function and quality of life, and it can contribute to easier, safer births with less intervention.
Results from a chiropractic and medical collaborative study indicate that 75% of pregnant patients who receive chiropractic care during their pregnancies experience pain relief. Moreover, studies show that women who seek chiropractic care throughout gestation have, on average, shorter labour times – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?
The Webster Technique
The Webster Technique is often used to treat chiropractic patients during pregnancy. According to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), the Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment that is safe to use during pregnancy. The goal of the adjustment and treatment is to reduce the effects of sacral and sacroiliac joint dysfunction in order to improve the biomechanical function of the sacrum and pelvis.
Pelvic function can play a large role in optimal positioning of the babe. When the pelvis is misaligned, and there is tightening and torsion of the ligaments that attach to the uterus – as well as specific pelvic muscles – it can cause a condition called “intrauterine constraint.” This constraint within the uterus can prevent the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth, leading to a breech presentation.
To perform and make chiropractic treatment comfortable for the mom-to-be and her growing belly, pregnancy pillows are used so that she is able to lay face down on the table. (This is generally the most exciting part of treatment for moms, as for some, it has been up to nine months since they have been able to safely lie on their belly!).
Treatment consists of a combination of soft tissue and joint work through the low back, pelvis and abdomen in order to regain proper biomechanical function of the pelvis and decrease pain. Due to laxity of the ligaments brought on by the release of relaxin in pregnancy, treatment and adjusting are both comfortable and easy while using the gentlest of movements. Although the treatment is gentle, the results are surely impactful. Clinical studies have reported an 82% success rate for breech babies when chiropractors used the Webster Technique.
Determine if this Treatment is Right for You
Above all, there is reassurance in knowing that safe and effective treatment options exist during pregnancy and that pain relief is possible. Please speak to a Webster Certified Chiropractor or your healthcare provider to discuss if this treatment is appropriate for you and your one on the way.
For more information on the Webster Technique, please visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) website.
The advice provided in this article is for information purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed healthcare provider. Consultation with a Chiropractor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.
Borggren, C.L. Pregnancy and Chiropractic: A Narrative Review of the Literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2007; 6: 70-74.
International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. A Webster Technique: A Sought Out Technique for Pregnant Women. ICPA Family Wellness First. 2014.
Pistolese, R.A. The Webster Technique: A Chiropractic Technique with Obstetric Implications. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2002; 25(6): 1-9.
Ohm, J. The Webster Technique: Definition, Application and Implications. Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health. 2012: 49-53.
Sabino, J. Pregnancy and Low Back Pain. Current Review in Musculoskeletal Medicine. 2008; 1: 137-141.