My chiropractor office in North Baltimore looks a little different than your average doctor’s office. It’s a wide open adjusting space so you can see me at work when you walk in the door. Oh, and there is usually a two-year-old shadowing my every move with a tiny colorful clicking toy. The office was set up this way by design – there is a lot of a mystery around pediatric and pre-natal chiropractors. By having open adjusting, we hope to dispel some of the mystery, and to start a conversation. Let’s address the most common questions I get in office when someone sees a baby or pregnant woman getting adjusted.
1) Why would an infant get adjusted?
This is first question I get asked when someone sees one of my tiniest patients. This stems from an incomplete understanding of why anyone would get adjusted. Most people associate chiropractic care with back pain, neck pain and headaches. That’s what commonly brings people in our doors, but we actually don’t cure anyone’s pain – we make sure that bones are aligned properly in order to make sure that the nerves that run in between those bones are able to function. Those nerves are responsible for telling you about pain, but they also control everything from your sense of spatial awareness to muscle tone to organ function. So even though a baby can’t tell you they have a backache, they can come in with colic or latch difficulties. Plus, have you seen a birth lately? Even in the best delivery, there’s still a lot of stress that goes into that little spine – I know I’d want to get a once-over by a chiropractor if it were me!
2) If you adjust a pregnant patient, will it hurt the baby?
Done right, chiropractic care is safe throughout pregnancy. If you see a chiropractor who works with pregnant women, we have tables and pillows that allow our moms to lay face-down! The chiropractic adjustment itself is about the same in pregnancy, if a little bit more gentle. We’re still looking to move the subluxated (misaligned) bone back into place, but with the change in hormone levels in pregnant patients, chiropractors must be sure to account for bones that are more “suggestible” with increased the flexibility that goes along with it.
3) How soon is too soon to get adjusted after a baby is born?
For munchkin, it’s almost never too early to get adjusted! We use fingertip pressure at specific points and directions to guide a bone (which isn’t even fully solidified yet!) into its proper position. The smallest patient I’ve adjusted was just five pounds! For mom, my rule of thumb is that if you are comfortable laying face-down, I’m comfortable working to help everything that moved to accommodate baby in the last several months find its way back to its non-pregnant place.
If you have more questions about chiropractic for moms and kids, stop on by First Step Chiropractic and see it in action!
Written for Doulas of Baltimore by Dr. Pam Woodward