The Spinal Column: Yes indeed, chiropractic for pregnancy

Dr. Jim Schaffer

If this concept is new to you… please don’t roll your eyes and turn the page. Just give it a chance.

We often have pregnant women come to our office because the pain slicing down their leg has become completely unbearable and they have nowhere else to turn. First of all, ”ouch.” No where else to turn? That’s all chiropractic is? A place to go when all else fails?

Truthfully, I am used to this attitude. It doesn’t hurt my feelings anymore. I am happy to help women carrying extra baby baggage to find relief. My wife, Lisa, has bourn four children and she helps me comprehend — and have empathy for — what these normally mild mannered women are coping with.

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One of the first things moms-to-be enjoy in our office is the actual adjusting table. The table has an opening for the baby bump. Yep, right there in the middle of the table there is an open space for your belly. In addition we have pillows to support all parts of a woman’s physique that grows throughout her pregnancy. What I am saying is, she can lay on her belly! I have learned over the years how happy that makes an expecting mother. I know my staff try to schedule extra time on this dream table before the adjustment, just so she can really enjoy this little perk up! I have never heard one complaint!

Let’s get back to that unbearable pain that pregnant women often feel. There is one very common diagnosis that I see time and time again in our office. I know we like to blame everything on sciatica. But I have to tell you, there are many other nerves that run out of your spine and down your legs. And there are many other players that can be the cause. Poor sciatic nerve is always taking the blame. In the case of the child-bearing women who come desperately seeking relief, it is most often the piriformis muscle struggling with the hips.

When a woman’s hips are contorted or twisted or not level the piriformis muscle is forced to work harder on one side. As it works harder it produces more lactic acid, as all muscles do when working hard. The increased production of lactic acid in turn makes the piriformis muscle thicker, aka bigger. Therefore it is taking up more space. The innocent bystander here is the sciatic nerve who has the unfortunate position of running directly below the enlarged piriformis and is now being pressed by that dastardly muscle. Mom-to-be screams “Sciatica!”

The impinged nerve not only creates pain, but can cause motor weakness and, most importantly, can disrupt communication to the nearby organs. Correcting the position of the hips is the goal of a Chiropractor in this unwanted scenario.

Another very important reason to seek chiropractic care during pregnancy is to reduce your risk of what is called In-Utero Constraint. In-Utero Constraint is when, during the final trimester, the baby is trapped in a precarious position from which it is unable to free itself. This position is often called “breech”. This can lead to serious consequences during birth.

The pelvis is essentially made up of the two hip bones. When Mom’s hip position is distorted, the pelvis is then distorted. When I say distorted I mean that the bones are out of place. There could be one higher than the other, or one could be twisting forward or back. Basically, since we have the gift of movable bones for twisting and turning, the hip bones could be stuck slightly in any direction. They sometimes just cannot return to their proper position.

OK so, where was I… ahh, yes… pregnancy.

The uterus attaches itself to the pelvis. Now, imagine the uterus as a balloon for the baby. When the pelvis is distorted it causes the balloon/uterus to twist. This twisted situation does not allow baby enough room to move or turn over to prepare for birth, which can cause the baby to be termed “breech” as we get into the last weeks of pregnancy. As a chiropractor, I use a technique called the Webster’s Technique. Through specific adjustments to the mother’s pelvis, we correct the position of the hips allowing the uterus to expand to its natural position and allowing the baby the room to prepare for birth.

As a father, I feel very strongly that all pregnant moms should have a check-up with a family chiropractor to help them and their babies through pregnancy and delivery. We would like to offer all expectant families a spinal check up and consultation at no cost to you — we are that serious about making a change to the reason pregnant women come to our office. Not as a last resort, but as care for their unborn child.

If you have any questions about this article, please do not hesitate to call.

And that‘s it for this week, folks. See you next time.

Yours In Health,

Dr Jim

Dr Jim Schaffer of Kimberton Chiropractic located in Phoenixville, can be reached at

484-921-4936. Or www.kimbertonchiropractic.com.