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Is it safe for me to see a chiropractor?
Q: Can I use chiropractic services for low back pain in pregnancy?
A: Low back pain commonly results from the increased stress that pregnancy puts on your spine. Your growing baby adds extra weight for you to carry and shifts your center of gravity forward. This increases the curvature of your lower back and places extra stress on your spinal disks and joints. The resulting imbalances in your posture can lead to occasional falls. And, if you already suffer from low back pain, the extra stress of pregnancy only makes things worse.

Additionally, pregnancy hormones relax your ligaments. While this has the advantage of making your pelvic bones a little roomier for deliver, it also has the unwanted consequence of making you more vulnerable to injury. I learned this the hard way when I slipped a vertebral disc with my second pregnancy.

Chiropractors use hands-on manipulation to adjust the spine. Some chiropractors include massage as part of their treatment. Gentle manipulation and massage should be safe during pregnancy, and may be a desirable way to avoid using pain medication during pregnancy. If you choose to work with a chiropractor, choose one experienced in working with pregnant women. Chiropractors can also offer advice about exercise and instruct you on proper ergonomics to avoid additional back strain. Following pregnancy, chiropractic care can help with muscle tension, shoulder problems and upper back pain that may occur from improper lifting and carrying of your baby.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist