Carrying a baby during pregnancy is a natural task, but it does not always go smoothly for all women. Chiropractic may be able to help you enjoy your pregnancy and avoid some of the uncomfortable musculoskeletal side-effects related to changes in your posture and weight gain.

Pregnancy changes can cause pain in your back, buttocks, groin and legs. Because of the way in which spinal ligaments and muscles are attached to the pelvis, postural strain may influence the structures of your pelvis and spine.

By 10-12 weeks of gestation, relaxin (a hormone produced by the body during pregnancy to allow stretching of the ligaments and joints surrounding the growing foetus) has begun to soften ligaments and allow for joint laxity.

The uterus enlarges in a forward direction, shifting the centre of gravity of the body over the legs. These and other changes (including increased stress and psycho-social changes) are implicated in low back pain. It is not uncommon for a pregnant woman to develop musculoskeletal compensations to the forward position of the foetus and the increasing weight of the breasts. Common observations are:

  • Rounded  shoulders and ‘forward head posture’ due to the increasing weight of the breasts. This in turn creates pain in the neck, mid back and headaches. This is most commonly due to straining of the muscles, joints and ligaments of the spine in those areas.
  • Flattening of the arches of the feet creating pain in the balls of the feet.  This can be due to the forward weight shifting from your heels to the toes. Working on the feet can help pain in the feet and ankles and thereforestand more easily.
  • Increase in the arch of the low back (lumbar lordosis) which may contribute to the development of pregnancy lower back ache symptoms. Increasing the arch in your lower back can put an increase in pressure on the spinal  facet joints. Abnormal pressure on the facet joints or the sacro-iliac joints of the pelvis can cause a referred pain into the buttocks and leg(s). Gentle strengthening by keeping active from early on in pregnancy may help provide more support later on for your lower back.