pregnancy pain

Pregnancy and Chiropractic

Fiona Couchman postnatal, prenatal

Chiropractic is a safe and effective way to manage musculoskeletal conditions associated with pregnancy (1). The structural biomechanics of a pregnant woman’s spine changes so much throughout the trimesters, to accommodate the growth and delivery of the baby, it makes sense to get yourself checked out by a chiropractor so you can move better and feel better.

Clinically I find more pregnant mother’s book in early to mid 2nd trimester, because the relaxin hormone starts to kick in. This hormone starts to soften the ligaments and cartilage (pubic sympysis) around the pelvic girdle, to allow for the growth of the baby till birth. Quite often, this is the point in the pregnancy where women start to feel musculoskeletal pain, because of the effect of the relaxin hormone that coincides with a big leap in baby growth. It is and can be common to experience:

Common Symptoms

  • Sacral (tailbone) and lower back pain – with or without leg referral
  • Groin pain –especially with phases of baby growth and when the baby drops further into the pelvic girdle
  • Oblique muscle tension/pulling
  • Neck and shoulder tension – even headaches, due to a forward gravitational pull
  • Exaggerations of other structural pain that women have before pregnancy – the relaxin hormone has a systemic effect (not just for ligaments and cartilage of the pelvic girdle), so a musculoskeletal issue carried into pregnancy can be flared up


These musculoskeletal conditions can be stabilised and maintained by a chiropractor throughout pregnancy. Our aim is to restore the normal movement and function of spinal joints that are in dysfunction. Of course, with further baby growth and development, some of these conditions may flare up due to the increased stress on spinal joints and muscles. Therefore, pregnant women may find it helpful to have periodic chiropractic checks throughout to minimise pain and manage their spinal alignment for the birth. Research also shows that having spinal adjustments during pregnancy can help reduce back pain during the delivery (2).

Chiropractic techniques that are used for pregnant women are tailored for the individual and are based on their presenting complaint and also on how far through the pregnancy they are. We can see women right up until the day they give birth, with special consideration taken for their comfort on the table with pregnancy pillows (this allows the client to lie face down on the table with their baby supported in a pillow, very comfortable!).

Quite often we will give home care advice as well for pregnant women, depending on their presenting condition. This may include gentle movements or stretches, fitball exercises, or recommendations of activities to include or avoid.  And in certain situations it may even be necessary to wear a supportive belt around the pelvic girdle (sacro-iliac belt) to provide more full time support for the pelvis.

So why don’t you ring and book in today to see how chiropractic can help you through your pregnancy!

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  1. BORGGREN 2007. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature. J Chiropr Med. 6 (2): 70-74.
  2. Diakow PR, Gadsby TA, Gadsby JB, Gleddie JG, Leprich DJ, Scales AM. 1991. Back pain during pregnancy and labor. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Feb;14(2):116-8. PubMed PMID
Fiona Couchman

Author: Fiona Couchman

Bachelor of BioMedical Science (BBioMed Sc.) and Masters of Chiropractic (MChiro)

Dr Fiona has extensive Chiropractic experience and expertise. Through chiropractic, she enjoys helping people understand more about the interconnectedness of all of the components of the human body, and how the brain-body connection is so important for optimal healthy functioning.

She also enjoys bike riding, yoga, and multi-day hiking (backpack and all!).