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Chiropractic and Other Resources For Pregnancy

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is one of the lesser known uses of chiropractic. As someone who has an expecting wife I have become acutely aware of the challenges during pregnancy and where chiropractic can help.

So why would you go to a chiropractor while you were pregnant?

Pregnancy can be tough. There never seems to be any constant during it other than that the body is constantly changing and it’s different for everybody. Some weeks there can be nausea, than the nausea goes away but headaches come on, then the midback tightens up as your belly grows, or the low back pain and sciatica start. Sometimes even the joint at the front of the pelvis called your pubic symphysis starts to hurt. This pain can be managed with over-the-counter or sometimes even prescription pain relievers but I personally worry about how those chemicals are going to affect the developing baby. Smoking and alcohol are big no-no’s during pregnancy and I tend to think of medications as being in the same group. If you can help it, try to stay off the meds as much as possible. If there is a true need, no shame in using them.

The great thing about chiropractic is that we have a lot of success managing these painful symptoms without using drugs. Typically, as a mother’s weight distribution changes, her posture starts to change with it and new joints in her body become painful due to the new stresses placed on them. One example is in the picture below.

Also as the pregnancy progresses the body in it’s wisdom starts to pump out hormones that begin to relax and loosen the ligaments in the pelvis.  This is a good thing because the pelvis has to expand during childbirth to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal but the negative is that before labor those same pelvic joints become lax and unstable. This is where mothers will feel “something shift out of place” in their pelvis followed by low back pain or sciatica. Check out this video on how those joints work.

Chiropractors are specifically trained to assess the joints in the pelvis and spine and determine if they aren’t moving, are moving too much, or are misaligned.

How is a chiropractic treatment different during pregnancy?

In pregnancy we are specifically focused on three things.

1) We want the bones of your pelvis to be aligned so that there is as much space as possible for the comfort and health of the mother and baby

2) We want the nerves to the uterus to function fully so that the uterus, which is a muscle, can contract fully during labor.

3) We want the pelvis to orientate in a way that the baby can be in a good position for labor and delivery.

Pregnancy isn't a disease that we need to cure. The body knows what it’s doing, we just try to give gentle adjustments to optimize the function of it. The adjustments are much lighter than a regular chiropractic visit as it takes less force to align things due to the laxity in the ligaments of a pregnant patient. Typically, I recommend a chiropractic visit every 2 weeks for the 2nd trimester and then we go to once a week for the 3rd trimester until the baby comes.

Other resources

Aside from chiropractic here are some other drug-free resources that can help immensely.


Acupuncture and chiropractic go hand in hand. If chiropractic doesn’t work for a patient, acupuncture is always my first referral. Acupuncture is particularly helpful for the unique hormonal issues that women encounter during pregnancy. In St. Paul we recommend Selby Acupuncture

Well Adjusted Babies book by Jennifer Floreani

This is our go-to book during pregnancy and after. It’s an expansive resource that we find ourselves going back to again and again.

Essential Oils

I have seen essential oils used as an alternative to medications during pregnancy with much success.

SI Belts

SI belts can be a great way to keep the SI joints and pubic symphysis stable during pregnancy and postpartum. I recommend getting an adjustment and then using the SI belts to hold those joints in a stable orientation.

EMF Belly Armor Shirt

Electromagnetic frequencies from cell phones, wifi routers, and computers are increasingly being shown to have detrimental effects on our cells.. Belly Armor shirts cancel out electromagnetic frequencies for the developing fetus.

Nature: the physician of all diseases

When it comes to health and almost everything else I am a huge fan of simplicity. Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough." Getting healthy, mentally and physically doesn't have to be complicated. A patient reported to me the other day, that she gets the deepest most restorative sleep while on camping trips. While at home however it is usually light and restless. She also made me aware of a small study where camping completely normalized circadian rhythms in a group of people in only a week. This is a great example of how simple getting healthy can be.  It’s amazing how being in nature can just make us feel good and it’s weird to think that we now live in white boxes, that are mainly devoid of natural sunlight and fresh air and that our bare feet hardly ever touch the ground. We literally and figuratively almost never connect with the earth.

Hippocrates the father of modern medicine recognized this when he said “Nature is the physician of diseases.” Teddy Roosevelt also knew the power that nature has to heal. On the Valentine’s Day 1884, both his mother and wife died hours apart.  The grieving politician left his political career and headed West to hunt and ranch for two years. Being in untamed country helped heal his mental wounds and he, with John Muir, became a driving force for creating the National Park system. John Muir believed in nature’s healing powers with absolute certainty. In one of his books he advised “Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in a while. Climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

near Battle Creek, St. Paul, MN

near Battle Creek, St. Paul, MN

Scientific studies have also documented what Hippocrates, Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir intuited. Earthing or grounding is the practice of purposefully walking or lying barefoot on the ground. Scientists have found that the earth gives off negative ions that can help decrease inflammation in the body and reduce blood pressure. I routinely tell patients to walk or lie in their backyard barefoot for a half hour a day. It sounds too easy but it really does help with a myriad of issues.

I am a city dweller and when I first moved to St. Paul I was surprised to find that there are plenty of places to find nature very close to home. Harriet Island or any of the other great parks in the city are a great place to start. The Mississippi River is also an amazing, uncrowded ecosystem to escape to. Gardening in the backyard is also a good option where you can get on the ground and get dirty without leaving home.

With kids it’s great to see how fast getting them outside can change their mood. Generally with my four year old the first go-to if it’s a rough day is to get outside and move until he’s worn out. The same goes for myself. I strongly believe that movement in nature is a basic requirement for health. If I’m having a depressing or lethargic day, the first thing I do to reset is to go exercise outside. There is a great quote from the classic book Moby Dick that I think about when I’m just blue or irritated for no reason. It goes:

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

High Bridge, St.Paul, MN

High Bridge, St.Paul, MN

I think most of us have felt that “damp, drizzly November in my soul” feeling and getting back into wild and untamed nature is oftentimes the cure. In chiropractic, we call the healing power of nature “innate intelligence.” Innate intelligence is the inborn wisdom of the body to heal itself when there isn’t outside interference. One thing I love about chiropractic is that it can be summed up very simply. When we take away outside interference, be it physical, mental, environmental or nutritional the body will naturally heal using its inborn wisdom. Nature is one way to remove a great deal of interference and should a be a regular part of everyone's daily health routine.