Chiropractic Care for Mama
Chiropractic Care for Mom's during Pregnancy
Getting adjusted during pregnancy ... not "cracked"
I find this the MOST common question from mamas... "Are you going to "crack" me?! This is my favorite question and the answer is no!
There are very specific treatment techniques that are utilized during pregnancy to keep in mind the comfort and changes that go on in the pregnant body. There are many different approaches to treatment that don’t involve “cracking” joints. With my prenatal patients I most often use a technique called drop piece adjusting, that allows mom to lie comfortably on a pregnancy pillow while the table does most of the work!
Mama's are often so surprised at how gentle the adjusting really feels.
In conjunction with adjustments, soft tissue work, which can include muscle and ligament release are often used to help restore balance in the structures that connect to the boney pelvis. Everything is so connected, so it's important to assess the entire functionality of the musculoskeletal system to ensure it's working the best it can for you as your body accommodates for the rapid growth of baby!
Beyond hands on treatment, there is a TON in the way of home exercises ranging from breathing to mobility work, to self or partner assisted muscle release and day-to-day positional/postural changes you can make that will keep you feeling good between treatments and leave you with an active role in your care. You'll receive a multitude of videos and at home instructions along the way!
At the end of the day, the most important thing with treatment through pregnancy is that you feel comfortable, educated and empowered through the process and the treatments are resulting in good pain relief and overall function.
How often will I need to come?
The typical chiropractic care schedule for pregnant moms is very similar to the frequency at which they see their other care providers (midwives, physicians/OBGYNs).
Up to 30 weeks, 1x/month is typically sufficient to address pelvic alignment and the surrounding muscles and ligaments pelvic structures and maintain their function and balance as you body accommodates for the growth of baby.
From 30-36 weeks, moms seem to benefit from more frequent treatments, typically bi-weekly as the pelvic structures tend to experience more load, resulting in more aches and pains. Most moms are keen for a treatment to help with pain relief, comfort with sleep, round ligament and rib pain the same frequency as when they see their primary care provider.
At 36 weeks, weekly treatment is focused on pelvic joint alignment, functionality and releasing hip/muscle tension to help prepare the body for labour.
In short, Prenatal Chiropractic Care typically looks like 1x/month to 30 weeks, 1x/2weeks to 36 weeks and weekly till baby arrives!
A common question and important note is when to come after baby arrives. Most moms in my practice will come for an alignment check to reset the position of the tailbone and surrounding tissues within the first 6 weeks of delivery. Either at the 2, 4 or 6 week postpartum visit with their doctor or midwife. This is a great time to check into breathing patterns, check diastasis and release muscle tension related to baby care. For additional resources in the postpartum period visit
***Pelvic floor physio is so helpful to consider in preparation for labour. Checking in with a pelvic health physio therapist at 28, 32, 36 weeks and at 6 weeks postpartum is an important piece to prenatal care. For trusted resources on Pelvic Health visit www.gilliansawyer.com/resources
The Webster Technique
There is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment called the Webster Technique designed to restore the optimal alignment in the pelvis, surrounding muscles and ligaments.
The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) who certifies chiropractors in the Webster technique defines it as a specific chiropractic analysis and diversified adjustment where the goal is to reduce the effects of the SI joint dysfunction (the position of the tailbone(sacrum) and adjoining SI joints). In doing so the biomechanical (how the pelvis moves) function in the sacral/pelvis region is improved.
Chiropractic Care for Baby
There can be hesitation from parents with the assumption that a Chiropractic adjustment for their newborn would be too aggressive. This couldn't be further from the truth. To treat an infant, the amount of pressure required is much like the pressure you'd use handling a very ripe tomato or when putting contact lenses in. The adjustment is more like a gentle hold on specific structures on and around the spine. It's so common for little ones to sleep through their treatments.
When, how often to come and for what?
It's great to come within the first month after birth. There's such a huge transition for babies going from being curled up in-utero for 9 months to being out in the world. Another factor to consider in terms of timing is when mom/dad is feeling ready to leave the house. I know for me it took a good couple of weeks to get to know my little one a be able to recognize any patterns.
Many come initially for a "well-baby" check-up. The purpose here is to take a look at alignment, infantile reflexes, check muscle tone, balance and movement of the joints. When it comes to specific concerns, here are a few that commonly present to the office. Head position (torticollis) or head shape (flattening) concerns, trouble with breastfeeding due to potential discomfort at the breast, latching issues related to tightness in the neck and jaw or fussiness in certain positions (tummy-time) are very common reasons for an assessment. Generally we are looking for imbalances in ranges of motion/mobility, asymmetries in muscle tension and movement patterns.
It's very common that just a few treatments is all that is required to help sort things out with little babies. They don't hold onto tension like we do as adults, so some gentle releases can go a long way and quickly.
Beyond that my general recommendation is to check in at developmental milestones such as rolling, crawling and walking to assess for symmetry and functional movement.
Dr. Gillian's Local Resources for Mom & Baby
For more information on Chiropractic and Pediatrics:
The ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) certifies Chiropractors world wide in the care of pregnant women and their babies.