The news that you will be welcoming a new life into the world and your family brings with it a lot of excitement. “Becoming a mother is a wonderful experience,” you’re told by everyone. But then comes the not-so-wonderful side effects like weight gain, morning sickness, sleepless nights and other discomforts. Every expectant mother experiences different stresses on her body, but one very common of those stresses is lower back pain (LBP).

Studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers will develop LBP at some point during their pregnancies. Fortunately, studies also suggest that chiropractic care including Spinal Manipulation Therapy (SMT) for pregnancy-related back pain is an effective option.

What causes LBP during pregnancy?

Weight gain is an inevitable component of pregnancy and as your body changes so too will your posture. During pregnancy, the added weight as your belly grows pulls the spine forward and causes the curve in the lower back to increase. This is often when we see LBP.

Another cause of LBP during pregnancy can be the expanding of a woman’s hips and pelvis. A pregnant woman’s hips will expand laterally to help stabilize and support the additional weight in the abdomen. As the hips and pelvis open up to make room for the baby, additional stress is placed into two joints (sacro-iliac) in the back of the pelvis. Too much pressure on these joints is what can also cause LBP. Occasionally, irritation of the sciatic nerve can accompany this, causing leg pain and numbness.

How can my chiropractor help?

An extremely effective treatment for LBP during pregnancy is a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments are safe for pregnant women and their babies, and can be especially appealing to those who are trying to avoid medications during pregnancy. Gentle stretching can also be used to relieve the muscle tension that often builds up in the muscles of the low back.

Another benefit for seeking chiropractic care during pregnancy is reduced labour time. Studies have shown women who seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have, on average, a 25 per cent shorter labour time. Women carrying multiples who seek chiropractic care have, on average, 31 per cent shorter labour times.

If you have questions about chiropractic treatment for LBP during pregnancy, make an appointment with a chiropractor to discuss which treatment options may be a good fit for your and baby. Some chiropractors in Alberta have special interests and focus their practices on areas like pediatric care (or sports injuries, seniors care, etc.). Ask your chiropractor if they have any special interest areas of practice.