Today we’re talking to a chiropractor about what types of things they can help you with during pregnancy. I was always a bit hesitant to recommend chiropractic care, but the longer I have done labor and delivery the more I realize how helpful they could be!
She is a graduate from New York Chiropractic College. Dr. Hickey has always had a passion for helping people, which first sparked her interest in chiropractic while she was in high school. She began shadowing local chiropractors and decided to continue her education at King’s College in Wilkes Barre PA where she received her bachelors in biology and minor in neuroscience.
Once her journey was complete at Kings College she moved to Seneca Falls NY and attended New York Chiropractic College. Shortly into her education she began to have increased enthusiasm for learning more about women’s health specifically in treating pregnant women and children. Alyssa gained further education on her interest by submerging herself in related courses, clubs and seminars including, Pediatric radiology, Pregnancy and Pediatric Nutrition, Women’s Health care Issues, Clinical Pediatrics Chiropractic Care and is a member of the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association.
She also obtained her certification in Webster technique, a technique of diversified adjustments to reduce the effects of sacral and SI dysfunction to improve neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis. She is obtaining her Certification by the Academy Council of Chiropractic Pediatrics on further knowledge on pediatrics. Her goal is to educate mothers in the proper functions of their bodies during pregnancy and the importance of optimal alignment, for maintaining natural and healthy movements promoting happy mothers and healthy babies.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — if you are looking to get prepared for your hospital delivery this class makes it not so scary. Make sure you check it out to see if it’s right for you!
In this episode
Why chiropractic care is important in pregnancy
What you can do to reduce the pain.
Why you might want to start your chiropractic care during pregnancy.
What is the Webster technique
What areas it it helps.
How to find a Chiropractor who is trained in the Webster Technique — https://icpa4kids.com/
Other things that might interest you
Symphysis Pubis Separation episode
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
[00:00:00.000] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 119, we’re talking about something. Okay, so I’m not like super earthy birth, but this is something I recommend fairly frequently. Sometimes I get wide eyes, but today we’re going to untangle chiropractic care in pregnancy. Let’s go.
[00:00:24.470] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast. We untangle pregnancy, parenting, home and even travel. We know there’s no right answer for every family, but hopefully we can spark some ideas that will work for yours. Life’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:48.570] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, guys, before we get started, I wanted to share a review from Sleepy Sarah. She said, such good information. I’m 36 years old and 34 weeks pregnant with the Miracle IVF baby. It’s my first, and I’ve avoided a lot of conversations and situations about pregnancy and labor and delivery over the past five years. I bet a lot of you were like that, also. Now that it’s finally my turn, I found her online prenatal class, which my husband and I are both enjoying. On my own, I’ve been binge listening to all of the episodes about pregnancy and being a mom of an infant. I love the podcasts are relatively short, and they’re so practical. Thanks, Hilary. Guys, I love reviews so much. If you guys could leave me a review, I will sprinkle all of the good nurse Karma all over you and you will shine bright like a star. Leave me a review.
[00:01:29.060] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. I met today’s guest on the Tik Tok, which is where I meet all of my friends. She just had so much good information about chiropractic care during pregnancy because a lot of times people were very earthy birthy, and like, your chiropractor is just going to deliver your baby, which they are not. If your chiropractor so they can deliver your baby, that’s the time to leave. But I do believe that chiropractic care has a place in pregnancy, and I definitely recommend it if you have a breach baby. And I had some revelations during this interview, so I can’t wait to introduce you to Alyssa Hickey. She is he chiropractor in the Rochester, New York area.
[00:02:00.360] – Hilary Erickson
Do you feel prepared for your delivery in just three short hours? You can be prepared for the confident, collaborative delivery you want, you’ll know what to expect and how to talk with your health care team. And there are no boring lessons in this class. I’ll use humor stories from my 20 years in the delivery room to engage both of you. I love how Alyssa told me that she found herself laughing at things that used to sound scary. Most of all you guys are going to be on the same page from Bump to Bassinette. Join the online prenatal class for couples today. You can save 15% with coupon code UNTANGLED. You can find the link in the show notes.
[00:02:38.340] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
Hey, Alyssa, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Thank you so much for having me. Okay.
[00:02:44.090] – Hilary Erickson
So I saw Alyssa on TikTok. She’s so bubbly and fun. And you guys know that some chiropractors maybe turn off the nurses, but she didn’t. I think she really practices in a way that really enhances the rest of your pregnancy.
[00:02:57.370] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
I love that. Thank you.
[00:02:58.790] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Okay. So chiropractic care in pregnancy. Can you deliver a baby? Let’s just start off with that.
[00:03:04.010] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
[00:03:05.290] – Hilary Erickson
I mean, anyone can deliver a baby, you just pull down, release the shoulder and pull up. Honestly. But it’s not part of a chiropractic education, obviously, right?
[00:03:16.350] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
No, not at all.
[00:03:17.410] – Hilary Erickson
Do you guys talk about pregnancy much in regular chiropractic school?
[00:03:21.910] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
I think it depends on the school that you go to. The one that I had gone to didn’t really touch on it that much. They were more of, like, a sports based chiropractic school. So a lot of my training came afterwards just with continuing Ed credits that I had taken.
[00:03:35.800] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. Yeah. And I think that’s something important because I think a lot of people contact their local chiropractor, and they’re kind of like, I don’t do pregnancy, and that’s pretty normal, right?
[00:03:44.410] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
Yeah. So the other thing is, too. I feel like a lot of chiropractors do plan to do pregnancy because you learn a little bit when you’re in school and you don’t have to technically have a specific certification or specialty to be able to treat pregnant women. But it is the Webster technique, which is the more specific technique for pregnancy, is so amazing. And a lot of my patients that have seen other chiropractors and eventually come in are like, okay, this is completely different than the treatment that I was getting before.
[00:04:10.450] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So obviously, if you had, like, an ear ache or whatever, you are normally going to the carpet, then that would still be safe during pregnancy, right?
[00:04:17.560] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
[00:04:18.080] – Hilary Erickson
Like, neck issues and that kind of thing.
[00:04:20.480] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
Yeah. In regular chiropractic adjustments are completely safe during pregnancy. It’s just if you can find someone that does specialize in it, your treatment is going to be different. And I think you’re going to feel a pretty big change with it because it can affect the way that you’re carrying throughout your pregnancy. It can affect the whole laboring process and then also post partum healing.
[00:04:40.870] – Hilary Erickson
Oh. Wow. Okay. Let’s talk about it. So what can it do while you’re pregnant? Okay. Do you recommend people come the whole pregnancy?
[00:04:47.680] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
Yeah. So I typically tell people to start coming even prior to getting pregnant. If you’re having trouble conceiving chiropractic can be really great, too, just to kind of help balance out that pelvis, increased blood flow, nerve flow to all the reproductive organs. Oftentimes I’m no before the father or partner knows. And then some people are a little bit more nervous throughout that first trimester anyway. But I typically recommend people once you find out that you’re pregnant to find your Webster certified chiropractor and start going early on because the thing is if you wait until you start to have pain or discomfort, it’s a lot more difficult to correct the issue.
[00:05:22.520] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
And it’s going to take longer. And you’re going to have to see us more frequently to get some of that inflammation out and get those joints and ligaments back to where they should be so that you can be comfortable again.
[00:05:31.910] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. Joints and ligaments. I know a lot of people are just like, I am miserable at 40 weeks, but it really is. Your joints and ligaments are just so over this weird body positioning you now have because of this baby, this watermelon you’re carrying on your belly, right?
[00:05:45.250] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
Yeah, definitely. And I think a lot of times people don’t realize either is that first trimester is when you really start feeling it and you’re not really telling anyone. So you’re like, I can’t go to the chiropractor because I don’t want people to know that I’m pregnant, and I don’t you know what I mean. So I think people get nervous with that. And they’re like, what’s going on? I shouldn’t be feeling this this early, but the thing is, your hormones change so much, so that’s gonna affect those ligaments and muscles because you’re gonna have a huge influx of that relax.
[00:06:09.560] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
And which is gonna start loosening everything so that your body can make this change for the baby. So then you’re really gonna start feeling that, and then your center of gravity is gonna start getting off. So that’s going to affect your biomechanics. So there’s a lot of different changes happening. So it’s just really great to find someone that can go through optimize that pelvic alignment so that you feel your best throughout the whole pregnancy. And while your body is growing in babies growing.
[00:06:30.710] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And I think a lot of people don’t realize that just when that center of gravity shifts even just a little bit, just as you start to show. I mean, obviously, when you’re four weeks, your center of gravity hasn’t shipped it a whole lot. But you start to show you notice approach in the mirror, your pelvis is starting to be like, what the heck, what’s going on here? And that was stupid relaxing. So my pelvis split with my last baby, and I talked to, like, all the BS, and, I mean, I was a labor nurse at the time, and they were just like, yeah, that’s too bad.
[00:06:58.420] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
I know. And I think so. Did you have a pubic bone separation? Yeah. Yeah. And I think that that’s a big thing, too, that I try to educate my mom’s on early on because there’s a lot of movements that you typically do, like, just think of getting out of the car. You swing one leg and then you swing the other. And when you’re trying to roll over in bed, you swing one leg and then the other. And that puts a lot of torque on that pubic bone.
[00:07:20.870] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
And if you’ve got relaxing in there, that’s loosening everything. And then you have some inflammation because it’s slightly inflamed inflammation is going to loosen that joint. And then that quick a movement that’s all you need. And then it takes so long to get that inflammation back down. We got to do certain exercises, icing, I have to adjust. It have become in a bunch, and we eventually can get it to go down. But if you start early on just making those changes, then you can prevent it.
[00:07:42.980] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, that would have been a huge change. Also, being a nurse like it was just a joke, like pushing beds.
[00:07:48.010] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
Yeah, it was moving people lifting things. My nurses. I feel so bad for that. Trying to get compression socks over those Follen ankles.
[00:07:57.910] – Hilary Erickson
Compression socks. I don’t miss them. I’m not going to lie. Okay. So chiropractic can help with all the main things that you would normally go to a chiropractor before. Do a lot of people come to a chiropractor just during pregnancy or most of them have seen you before and then just continue.
[00:08:11.480] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
I think in general, a lot of people go to a chiropractor without being pregnant. But at my office, since that’s what I mainly educate and post about. A lot of my new patients come in being pregnant.
[00:08:22.450] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. Awesome. Okay. So we start early on and then kind of what is the Webster method? How does it differ from regular chiropracticness?
[00:08:30.190] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
So the Webster technique is a specific technique in training through the ICPA, which is International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. And like I said, it focuses on targeting certain muscles and ligaments that are known to get Typed throughout pregnancy to help balance and optimize that pelvic alignment. So a chiropractor that does the Webster technique. Typically, they’ll have a table that either drops down for your belly or they’ll have, like, a pregnancy pillow for you to lay on. So you get to lay on your belly. They’re going to go through and assess how your sacrum is moving, which is at the base of your spine.
[00:09:01.370] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
So that triangle bone down there. So a lot of times a lot of our mom’s experience pain around those back, dimples those SI joints. So they’ll go through and assess how that sacrum is moving. And then they’ll work on the periformis muscle, which is usually what gets tight when you start to get sciatic pain. And then they’ll focus on different ligaments back there, like the sacred tubers ligament, which is down in near your sip phone help release all of that to open up the pelvis. Create more room for your uterus to get into a better position, increase that blood flow, nerve flow flip you over.
[00:09:33.140] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
They’re going to stretch out the sea, which is one of your hip flexors, so that gets really tight as your belly starts to pull forward and you get more of that anterior pelvic tilt. Work on the round ligaments. So a lot of times moms will feel that round ligament pain because the uterus is shifting to one side or the other and then also check out the pubic bone.
[00:09:50.030] – Hilary Erickson
So that really encompasses so many problems. People come to us and labor and delivery around ligament pain can feel just like the baby is going to come out. Yeah, I know it’s very painful, but people come in and I’m just like, you could try like a heat pack.
[00:10:03.100] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
I know it’s really hard. So we try to educate a lot of our patients that come in to on different things they can do at home. I always give my mom’s different exercises that are safe for each trimester to go through and work on, give them some suggestions to get their partner involved and then also just showing them techniques to help relieve some of that tension within the round ligament, pubic bone and stuff like that.
[00:10:23.120] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So how frequently are people seeing you? Are they seeing you monthly? How much time? What people have to devote to this throughout pregnancy?
[00:10:31.370] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
It’s definitely specific for the patient. So you being a nurse with having a cubic phone to function. I would probably be seeing you a lot more often than I might be seeing a mom who doesn’t have as physical of a job, but it’s totally dependent because the thing is, if someone had a past history of an injury or an Si joint issue, a lot of times, those things are going to come back during pregnancy when your body is making these changes. Typically, though, we’ll see it is very dependent.
[00:10:57.860] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
So I hate to get, like, a specific time, but I will typically see them once a week throughout. If they’re doing really good, we can space it out a little bit more. But I like to kind of keep it at that, especially once you get to that 30 week Mark.
[00:11:08.960] – Hilary Erickson
[00:11:10.420] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
And then if baby is reach, there’s a lot more pelvic Imbalances going on. So then I would be seeing mom a lot more frequent if we’re trying to open up that pelvis so the baby can get into a better position.
[00:11:21.650] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. And now we get to what I’ve always recommended. People come to see a chiropractor, and of course, they don’t come to see you until they’re, like, 35 weeks when they’ve tried a version and it didn’t work and they’re laying upside down on their ironing board and to get the baby to flip. So I send people all the time to a chiropractor for reach babies. Is it helpful at 35 weeks?
[00:11:43.840] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
It can be, but not as helpful as if you come earlier because they think it’s so bad a big at that point. So I definitely if baby’s breach, we gotta try and get mom in a little bit sooner. And I like to just say this too, because I think a lot of people are like, oh, my God. You’re gonna turn. My baby chiropractors are not touching the baby. They’re not doing anything like that. They’re just working on mom’s pelvis to open it up so that if baby’s able to turn, they’re gonna get into a better position.
[00:12:04.930] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So if you’re, like, 30 weeks and baby doctor stands, it babies still breach. I think that’s a great time to be like, you know what? Let’s just touch base with a chiropractor because I’ve seen that be so beneficial. I’ve actually seen people who went for, like, one or two visits, and the baby flipped frequently.
[00:12:20.780] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
And I’ve had that happen so many times. I can’t even give you an exact number because it happens very frequently. And then I might not see mom. She has a great labor, and then she’ll end up messaging me and babies like two and be like, oh, baby had a fall and is doing this weird walking thing now. And just so you know, my baby flipped. I had this natural birth, and it’s amazing. It’s really cool to be able to have those success stories.
[00:12:44.380] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And if you’re listening and you’re not like a chiropractic fan, I am right there with you. I’ve seen a chiropractor, and so I saw a chiropractor after I had my baby and he wasn’t super helpful. I mean, the pelvis just had to heal, and I was just a mess of pelvic Ness. But I think for breach babies and during pregnancy, I am a really big advocate of let’s get those muscles and joints as happy as we can, because if you stay hydrated and you have happy muscles and joints, you really are going to feel so much better and totally worth the money to see a chiropractor.
[00:13:17.560] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
I think that’s a common concern with a lot of people, too, as people have seen a chiropractor in the past and maybe not had a good experience. So I always just encourage everyone. Everyone does practice differently. So you just need to find someone that you work well with and that you feel like you’re getting beneficial care from. So you just got to shop around a little bit, just like you would for any other provider.
[00:13:36.170] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Okay. So if people are looking, they’re like, 25 weeks and their baby is still breach or whatever, or they just feel miserable. So can you just look up a chiropractor with the Webster technique as as you can. That’s a place to just start with to Google your hometown Webster.
[00:13:49.490] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
So what I would suggest is if you go to ICPA4kids.com, but the number four not spelled out for CPA for kids. Com. You can type in your zip code and then it’ll give you a list of different chiropractors that are certified in the Webster technique. And I always suggest go look at the website, see if it feels like someone. It’s an office that you feel comfortable going to like someone that you would feel comfortable with.
[00:14:14.170] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So I guess insurance probably don’t cover weekly visits during pregnancy, do some.
[00:14:19.550] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
So they do. Yeah. I think it probably depends on the state and what insurance plan, but yeah, no, they’ll cover it.
[00:14:27.110] – Hilary Erickson
That’s amazing. I mean, most insurances I’ve had have said, like twelve visits a year or something like that.
[00:14:32.080] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
Some do that some you can kind of go through, do some Maria Vals and give them some different scores of different things to show that you’re getting progress, too. So I think it just depends on the insurance plan. But again, same thing. I think that it is just something that’s so benefit beneficial. So if you’re able to just save up money towards it to have the birth that you really would like to have, I think that having a Webster certified chiropractor on your team is really beneficial.
[00:14:57.320] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
I’ve had a lot of moms too that maybe I’ve seen them for the second or third pregnancy, and they’re like, I wish I knew about this for the first one. This is so different or like moms that had super traumatic first or that are wanting to achieve a VBAC stuff like that.
[00:15:12.910] – Hilary Erickson
Well, that can definitely save you money in the long run. It’s a shorter hospital stay depending. Everybody insurance is so different anymore. And a lot of people are paying for deliveries pretty much out of pocket. So if you’re doing that, then doing this could definitely save you, like, a C section class that would save you money in the long run for sure. Okay. So I didn’t know you guys did stuff post partum. What can you do? We want to do for our pelvis post once babies out.
[00:15:34.840] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
So a lot of our moms will go through and do. There’s usually different things going on. So if mom had any separation of her abdominal musculature, we’ll go through and test for that and see and then I can get specific exercises to help get that to heal. You know, if there was any pubic bone injury, if there’s any Si dysfunction like those back dimples, if you’re getting pain back there and then on top of it, you’re starting to look down and nurse and do all these new things with babies.
[00:15:59.870] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
So a lot of times moms are getting a lot of upper neck tension, a lot of moms do Quarian syndrome. So when you get that pain in your wrist because you’re holding the baby and doing stuff with the bottles and pacifiers so we can work with that. And then our office. We also help some moms with some clog duck issues. Oh, wow.
[00:16:16.720] – Hilary Erickson
Wow. That’s amazing. I had no idea. Well, that’s super helpful for everybody. Also, I will say that the more research I’ve done into how a lot of people when we push your legs back, especially if you have a solar Dystocia, we push your legs back till they are touching your ears. Just because we’re trying to get that baby out under your pelvic. And I think chiropractic care could definitely help your body, just, like, flip back into place. Yeah.
[00:16:38.920] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
And I think that that’s another thing to moms. Don’t feel it during the whole labor process, whether they had an epidural or you’re just in the moment with all the hormones, you’re not noticing, K, how high up your knees are going. But a lot of moms will come in, and they’re like, I have this new hip thing, and I’m like, oh, how are we positioned for this? And then usually you can figure out something like that had happened.
[00:16:57.470] – Hilary Erickson
A also, a lot of people are like, Well, I had back pain after I got my epidural, and I’m like, but you also had a baby, and it’s all like, you have so many new movements that you’re doing, like, putting the baby in the crib. Don’t even get me started on car seat. It’s just your body’s in a whole new land. Yeah, it is.
[00:17:13.280] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
There’s a lot of new movement happening. So moms, like, they’ll come in and they’ll be like, oh, my gosh, I my fanatic pain so much better. But now I have this next thing going on, and then I’m like, Well, you’re looking down a lot more your beautiful little baby.
[00:17:25.070] – Hilary Erickson
And then later you’ve got them on your hip. And then later you’re in your bed in the fetal position crying because they’re teenagers. All right. This has been so helpful. I have to say that if you were in my town, Alyssa, I would make an appointment.
[00:17:38.170] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
Oh, my gosh. I know. I have to meet you in person sometime.
[00:17:41.560] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, I do need to find a chiropractor that I just jive with, because I will say that a lot of them give me the heebie jeebies.
[00:17:47.560] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
I know. And the thing is, that’s a pretty common thing that we hear. So it’s just you got to sign the right person, but I can help you. I’ll help you look around a little bit and see if we can find someone.
[00:17:57.950] – Hilary Erickson
[00:17:58.280] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
[00:17:58.640] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for coming on Alyssa. I hope you guys got a lot of good information about this and how you can get help. You don’t have to feel miserable. I mean, you’re going to feel so miserable. You just are. If you’re 40 weeks, it’s not going to be fun. But maybe your chiropractor could help it make it be make it a little bit more. So. All right, thanks for coming on.
[00:18:15.600] – Dr Alyssa Hickey
Just thanks for having me.
[00:18:17.030] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. I love that interview. And I learned so much about what you could be doing to feel better during your pregnancy because it is those muscles and joints that are so miserable towards the end. And if you took care of them during pregnancy, and especially where she said insurance will cover it. Hello. That would be so worth it in my book. So check out a chiropractor in your area. Like she said that does the Webster technique and then look at their websites. I agree with that use.
[00:18:41.850] – Hilary Erickson
Sometimes you get a website when it’s all about all these supplements and herbs you can take, and maybe that’s not your thing, but there are a lot of really good ones out there. I know that we’ve had a few in the area where I practice who really turned a lot of babies. And that is so exciting to me. I love it when we can avoid a C section. So thanks for coming on, Alyssa. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode.
[00:18:59.520] – Hilary Erickson
Do not miss next week’s episode. I am having my lawyer to come on to talk about negotiating with kids and it is so good. So definitely stay tuned for that one next week.
[00:19:08.820] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. We know you have lots of options for your ears and we are glad that you chose us. We drop episodes weekly. And until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.