A lot of physical changes occur during pregnancy. 

The body’s communication system is through the nervous system, including the reproductive system. Establishing pelvic balance and spinal alignment helps the entire body work more effectively.

Common Pain During Pregnancy:

  • Back Pain: As the baby develops, more weight is put on the spine, pelvis, and joints, affecting the natural curves of the spine.
  • Misaligned Pelvis: A misaligned pelvis can make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery, causing breech or posterior positions.
  • Intrauterine Constraint: When the pelvis is misaligned, it reduces the amount of room available for the developing baby.
  • Sciatica: The sciatic nerve that leads into the buttocks, thigh, and leg causes pain along those areas due to a herniated disc, injury, or a pinched nerve within the buttocks. Sciatica can happen in late pregnancy as ligaments get looser, and the growing baby puts indirect pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Round Ligament Pain: Round ligaments are like two cords or ropes on each side of the uterus (womb). Each one is about 10 to 12 centimeters long. The ligaments connect the uterus to the pelvis and hold the uterus in place. The ligaments are stretched, and the pain is an uncomfortable sensation in the abdomen, near the hips, or into the groin area. It’s a “growing pain” that’s common and normal during pregnancy.
  • Headaches: Common in the first trimester, when the biggest hormonal changes are happening. Other causes include the increase in your blood volume, the stress of adjusting to pregnancy, and even not getting enough fluids or rest.
  • Swelling and Varicose Veins: Pressure from the developing baby can squeeze your blood vessels, slowing blood flow. This can cause swelling (edema) in the legs and feet. The slowed circulation can cause the veins in the legs to become larger or swollen.

  • Nausea: Often referred to as “morning sickness,” the feeling and/or action of emptying your stomach contents during the early stages of pregnancy.

(Source: American Pregnancy Association, Henry Ford Health & Cleveland Clinic)

What a Doctor of Chiropractic Can Do for You
Your doctor of chiropractic may take one or more approaches to help you and your baby through a healthier pregnancy:

  • Perform physical and neurological exams to assess the affected areas. 
    • In the physical exam, your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. Your doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasms. 
    • During the neurological exam, your doctor will test your reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and pain spread.
  • Perform spinal manipulation or pelvic adjustments that are designed for the care of pregnant women and their baby; using techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen. Thus, helping to reduce pain, length of labor, and prevent unnatural births such as c-sections.
  • Improve the overall nervous system by working with the spinal cord and spinal nerves, which may help with nausea.
  • Develop a personalized program of care that may combine or recommend more than one type of treatment, depending on your personal needs. In addition to spinal manipulation, the treatment plan may include mobilization, massage, exercises, stretching, or something else.

Ask Your Chiropractor to See if the Following Pain Management Techniques Are Beneficial for You:


While some risks for back pain during pregnancy are unavoidable, you should be careful to limit additional strain from moving and lifting heavy objects. Make sure to lift using your legs, avoid bending at the waist, and practice good posture to limit the possibility of injuries. Try and rest as much as possible. 

(Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine)


Having a massage may also help reduce back pain. Applying gentle pressure around the affected area may help relieve tension, and a full-body massage can provide full-body relaxation. Chiropractic offices often offer massage services; consult your chiropractor to see what services they offer to book a massage.

(Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine)


While you may not feel like it, staying active with low-impact exercises like walking or swimming can keep your joints and muscles healthy and reduce pain. Consult your chiropractor for specific exercises or stretches to increase back strength and alleviate pain during pregnancy. 

(Source: Mayo Clinic)


Continuing to stay active and stretching your hips can not only alleviate pain but may also be able to prevent it. Talk with your chiropractor to get recommendations for specific stretches and to see if prenatal yoga is right for you. 

(Source: Cleveland Clinic)


The application of heat can loosen and relax muscles to reduce pain while also increasing blood flow to the affected area. Applying ice or submerging in cold water can numb pain and reduce inflammation. 

(Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine)


By wearing low-profile (but not flat) shoes with good arch support, you provide a good foundation for proper posture and back support. 

(Source: Mayo Clinic)


Pregnancy hormones stretch and loosen your ligaments, and your growing baby puts pressure on your body; this combination can cause spasms and pain. The best way to alleviate this is to rest as much as possible. Avoid lifting heavy objects and standing for long periods of time. Sudden movements can also cause or exacerbate the pain.

(Source: Cleveland Clinic)


A maternity or a pregnancy pillow is a specially designed body pillow to suit and support the changing curves of the body during pregnancy. This long pillow supports the entire body. And yes, they help reduce back pain of pregnancy to a large extent. Try a full-length pregnancy pillow. Sleep with this pillow on a bed, keeping your arms wrapped around it.

(Source: MedicineNet)


An elastic band or support belt (sometimes called a belly band) under your belly can support and ease strain and pressure on your ligaments. Talk to your chiropractor to see how this could be beneficial for you.

(Source: Cleveland Clinic)

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