Can I See a Chiropractor While Pregnant?

Pregnant woman receiving chiropractic care

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Pregnancy undoubtedly causes a host of physical changes, and with your growing belly might come some new aches and pains in your back. If pregnancy has you complaining about a sore body, you might consider giving your chiropractor a call. Before you pick up the phone, you may stop and wonder whether those adjustments would be safe for your baby.

You might be relieved to know that you can see your chiropractor while you are pregnant, but be sure to let them know you have a baby on the way. They will need to make certain modifications to ensure your baby's protection and safety. "[Chiropractors] are trained to work with pregnant patients and we tailor the treatment to what each patient can tolerate," says Eric Winiarz DC, a New York City-based chiropractor.

Ahead, learn more about visiting a chiropractor while pregnant, what the benefits might be, and what safety precautions to consider.

Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is generally considered safe and effective. "The treatment for a pregnant patient is more gentle and we have certain techniques we use with this population," notes Dr. Winiarz. "We have specially designed tables which are adjustable in many ways so there is zero pressure on the belly of the patient."

A chiropractic technique called active release (ART) is often used during pregnancy. ART is a low-force, hands-on treatment that works to break up adhesions between muscles to loosen them up and take pressure away from sensitive areas. "It is great for pregnant people because each pass of ART on a specific muscle is only performed for a short amount of time," says Dr. Winiarz. "If the patient is uncomfortable being in one position, the technique can adapt to a position the patient can tolerate."

Every pregnancy is different. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider about your circumstances if you have any questions about seeing a chiropractor while pregnant.

Is It Safe for Baby?

Chiropractic adjustments are generally safe for your baby as long as your chiropractor refrains from putting any pressure on your abdomen. However, certain conditions or circumstances may lead your healthcare provider to advise against chiropractic care during pregnancy.

This is why it's important to talk with your OB/GYN or healthcare provider before scheduling any appointments. If you do schedule chiropractic care, be sure to let the chiropractor know that you're expecting.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

Seeing a chiropractor has many helpful benefits during pregnancy.

Adjustments Can Give Your Baby More Space

Giving your baby a little more room can make you both more comfortable. Chiropractic care can help loosen up the round ligaments that connect from your hip bone to the outside of the uterus. When these ligaments become tight, they can cause underbelly pain.

"By applying gentle pressure to these ligaments, we can decrease constraint on the uterus and may maximize space for the baby," says Dr. Winiarz.

It Can Take the Pressure off Your Belly

The sheer force of gravity pulling on your pregnant belly can be very uncomfortable during pregnancy. A chiropractic technique called belly-taping can make a world of difference.

Belly-taping involves placing strips of kinesiology tape under the belly all the way to the lower back. "We stretch the tape under the belly and the tape helps lift the belly slightly, which will take some pressure off the lower back and distribute it across the tape," Dr. Winiarz explains. "After we tape their bellies, all of our soon-to-be moms let out a sigh of relief because it's really that wonderful!"

Adjustments May Encourage Your Baby to Get into the Head-First Position

Babies normally spin into the head-down position as you approach labor. But sometimes, this does not happen. Birthing a baby feet-first puts them at high risk for complications, and you may need a C-section.

A chiropractic method called the Webster technique is commonly applied during pregnancy, and it can assist with this very issue. "The procedure often entails a few adjustments to the sacrum, a substantial bone at the base of the spine, as well as a brief, delicate massage of the circular ligament in the middle of your expanding belly," says Aaron Gelfand, MD, an OB/GYN at ChoicePoint. "When it's time for labor, releasing tension along the round ligament can create room so gravity may force your baby lower. The idea is that your baby will be more likely to end up in the head-down position if she can move around."

A Chiropractor's Work Can Relieve Aches and Pains

The most commonly touted benefit of chiropractic care is relief from pregnancy-related aches and pains. About half of all pregnant people suffer from lower back pain.

"As the mother's belly grows, there is a change of load distribution within the lumbar spine," says Dr. Winiarz. "This change places more stress onto the joints of the lower back and can create pain. Chiropractors can performing certain adjustments that decrease the pressure in the joints and soft tissue."

Safety Precautions

There are some safety precautions to keep in mind when getting chiropractic care while pregnant.

Avoid Lying Flat on Your Back

Make sure to be in a pregnancy-safe position while receiving treatments. Lying on your back during the third trimester of pregnancy puts pressure on a major vein called the vena cava. This can impede blood flow between you and your baby and could cause you to faint. However, it's okay to lie on your back during the earlier stages of pregnancy.

Get the All-Clear From Your Healthcare Provider

Although chiropractic care is generally safe during pregnancy, there may be specific circumstances where a patient should not receive it. Always check with your OB/GYN or healthcare provider before starting chiropractic treatment.

"Every pregnancy is different and it's important to address your specific needs with your OB/GYN before starting any kind of treatment—chiropractic or otherwise," says Dr. Gelfand.

Leave the Belly Alone

During pregnancy, a chiropractor should never put any pressure on your abdomen. You don't want to risk any trauma to your developing fetus. Even minimal physical trauma can have lasting effects.

Monitor Your Comfort Level

Chiropractic care should not be painful. If you feel uncomfortable, let your chiropractor know immediately. "Pain or discomfort is a sign that something is wrong, and you should never continue if the pain is in or around your abdomen," notes Dr. Gelfand.

A Word From Verywell

Chiropractic care is generally safe and can be beneficial during pregnancy. Always tell your chiropractor that you are expecting and ensure that there is not any pressure on your belly during treatments. Monitor your comfort level and communicate with your chiropractor if something doesn't feel right. If you have any questions about whether you should see a chiropractor during pregnancy, reach out to your OB/GYN or healthcare provider.

8 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Elisa Cinelli
Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families. She has written for well-known sites including POPSUGAR and Scary Mommy, among others.